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Tuesday,22-June-2021

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Privatisation hurts public- benefits only a handful of cronies: Rahul Gandhi

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked the BJP government over privatisation of airports by commenting on social media: “They don’t know how to build but sell.”

Gandhi tweeted on Monday afternoon: “#IndiaAgainstPrivatisation which hurts the public and benefits only a handful of cronies.”

Gandhi’s attack comes in wake of the government aiming to sell its residual stake in four airports as part of the Rs 2.5 lakh crore asset monetisation pipeline.

The sale of Airport Authority of India’s remaining stake in the Delhi Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports, as well as identification of 13 more airports for privatisation, has been planned for the next fiscal.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation will take approvals for divestment of equity stake of the AAI in the joint ventures running Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports.

For the 13 AAI airports identified for privatisation, the possibility of bundling of profitable and non-profitable airports will be looked at to make more attractive packages.

In the first round of airport privatisation under the BJP government last year, the Adani Group bagged contracts for six airports – Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, and Guwahati.

Adani Enterprises in January had signed the concession agreement with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for operating and developing the Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airports.

In a regulatory filing, the company said that the concession period is 50 years from the commercial operation date.

“Adani Jaipur International Airport Ltd, Adani Guwahati International Airport and Adani Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, wholly-owned subsidiaries of the company, have signed the concession agreement on January 19, 2021 with Airports Authority of India for the operations, management and development of Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airports respectively,” it said.

National News

Uniform assessment policy for all Class 12 boards not possible: Centre

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The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that there cannot be any uniform assessment policy for all board examinations, which includes those of the CBSE, the ICSE and the state boards.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, representing the Centre, told a bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar that all boards are autonomous bodies, and empowered to formulate their schemes in connection with the assessment of Class 12 students.

He told the top court that the life of each student is protected by Article 21 of the Constitution, and it is not safe or prudent to have a written exam amid the ongoing pandemic. “Students cannot be compelled to take examination during the pandemic. For example, if something happens to a student, then his/her parents will sue the board,” Venugopal said.

The AG said this situation has arisen for first time and the boards had to innovate and think of the students’ best interest. He added that 13 experts have put their heads together and has been approved by the CBSE.

The Centre also informed the top court that students will be given an option, that is, if they are not satisfied with the assessment, then they can opt for the exam.

The CBSE on Monday informed the Supreme Court the optional examinations for Class 12 students, unsatisfied with its assessment criteria, would be held between August 15 to September 15. The exams would be conducted if the environment is conducive against the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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National News

Smriti Irani slams Rahul Gandhi, calls him ‘Gyani Baba’

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Mocking former Congress President Rahul Gandhi as ‘Gyani Baba’ (wise monk), Union Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday said he needs to introspect why his party-ruled states have failed poorly in the Covid management.

In a series of tweets after Rahul Gandhi’s press conference, Irani said, “While Gyani Baba is dishing out pearls of wisdom to the Honourable Prime Minister, he may like to introspect on the following – Where did the second wave start? – Congress ruled states. Which states had a huge percentage of India’s cases and deaths? – Congress ruled states.”

In another tweet, she said, “State with the highest case fatality rate – Congress ruled state. States with maximum noise against vaccines creating vaccine hesitancy – Congress ruled states. States which had an astronomical positivity rate during the second wave – Congress ruled states.”

She pointed out that it was the Congress-ruled states that demanded decentralisation of vaccine procurement and later did a u-turn.

“Who demanded decentralization & then did a u-turn?- Congress. Which states did the worst in terms of vaccination yesterday even as the country created a world record? – Congress ruled states. It is darkness under the lamp,” she said.

National in-charge of BJP’s Information and Technology department, Amit Malviya tweeted, “Before Rahul Gandhi pontificates on Covid management, notwithstanding that Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra, all Congress ruled, have been laggards, he should let us know if he has got himself vaccinated, since Congress actively promoted vaccine hesitancy.”

Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi released a white paper on the Centre’s Covid management and said, “The idea is to provide insights and information so that avoidable deaths can be prevented in the coming waves.”

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AIMIM invites applications for 2022 polls in Uttar Pradesh

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The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has started inviting applications from candidates willing to contest the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

The application will be in the prescribed form and will also include a loyalty contract.

The ‘loyalty contract’ says that the applicant will campaign for the party in the election, working honestly for the party even in the event of not getting the ticket.

The applicants will also have to pay an application fee of Rs 10,000 along with the form.

AIMIM state president Shaukat Ali said, “We have made up our mind to contest on 100 Muslim majority seats in Uttar Pradesh and there has also been a discussion about a possible alliance with like-minded parties. Although no final decision has been taken on this yet, the doors of both SP and BSP are open for us.”

He said that AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi will take the final decision on the ticket distribution, for which he will visit the state soon.

In the recent panchayat polls in UP, AIMIM has done well in Akhilesh Yadav’s constituency Azamgarh and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s hometown Prayagraj.

Meanwhile in 2015, the AIMIM had won four seats in the zila panchayat polls. The rise in the graph of AIMIM in the UP panchayat elections has boosted the morale of the party workers.

Earlier in 2017, AIMIM had fielded its candidates on 38 seats in the assembly elections but did not win a single seat.

The party got 2,05,232 votes in entire Uttar Pradesh, which was only 0.2 per cent of the total votes polled.

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