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Tuesday,19-October-2021

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Rajya Sabha passes FCRA Bill amid opposition boycott

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The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill sans opposition making Aadhaar mandatory for registration of organisations receiving foreign funds, and also to give the government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a “summary enquiry”.

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, which seeks an amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, proposes to include “public servants” in the prohibited category and decrease administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20 per cent from 50 per cent earlier.

“The Bill ensures that the NGO has to open mandatory an account in the SBI FCRA branch to receive funds and then one more account to another bank of choice, for this they don’t have to travel to Delhi but the nearest SBI account will facilitate the opening of account in New Delhi,” said Minister of State of Home Nityanand Rai.

It has also sought to prohibit any transfer of foreign contribution to any other association or person. Amendment of section 17 of the Act has sought to provide that every person who has been granted a certificate or prior permission under section 12 shall receive foreign contribution only in an account designated as ‘FCRA Account’.

There was a need to streamline the provisions of the earlier Act by strengthening the compliance mechanism, enhancing transparency and accountability in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution worth thousands of crores of rupees every year and facilitating genuine non-governmental organisations or associations who are working for the welfare of the society.

He gave an example of the amendment made in 2010 when administrative expenses were reduced to 50 per cent, then also a demand was made to reduce it up to 10 per cent. He said P. Chidambaram had then mentioned that 10,000 crore of the foreign contribution is not even audited.

The Minister said the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 was enacted to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest.

Criminal investigations also had to be initiated against dozens of such non-governmental organisations which indulged in outright misappropriation or mis-utilisation of foreign contribution, he said. Seeking to amend clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Act, the government has proposed to include “public servants” within its ambit, to provide that no foreign contribution shall be accepted by them.

Earlier, it was restricted to Legislators, election candidates, journalists, print and broadcast media, judges, government servants or employees of any corporation or any other body controlled or owned by the government.

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‘Pak playing T-20 in J&K’: Owaisi slams Modi govt over match

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 AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday slammed the Narendra Modi government for allowing the Indian cricket team to play a T20 match with Pakistan at a time when “our soldiers are being killed in Kashmir”.

India is scheduled to play the first match of T20 World Cup against Pakistan in Dubai on October 24.

Addressing a public meeting on the eve of Eid Milad-un-Nabi at AIMIM headquarters Darussalam, he said: “Pakistan is playing T20 with Indian lives in Kashmir. How can we play a match against them amid regular terror attacks there?”

He recalled how Prime Minister Modi had criticised then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “for sharing biryani with the Pakistan PM when Indian jawans were being killed on the borders”.

Owaisi also alleged that the targetted killings in Kashmir were a result of lack of policy of terrorism by the Modi government, and questioned the government’s claim that problems in Kashmir have ended with the repeal of Article 370.

Referring to the death of labourers from Bihar in Kashmir, he wondered what the intelligence agencies and Home Minister Amit Shah were doing.

The AIMIM leader also lashed out at PM Modi for his silence on petrol and diesel prices.

“He is silent on skyrocketing fuel prices. The cost of petrol and diesel have hit the century mark, yet he has not commented on it.”

Owaisi also questioned the Prime Minister on his silence over Chinese Army entering and occupying the Indian territory. “Why is he afraid of even taking the name of China,” he asked.

The AIMIM also voiced concern over the situation faced by Muslims in the country.

Quoting a 27-year-old lawyer to describe the current situation, he said: “A Muslim is living under the threat of someone attacking his shop or a mob lynching him. He feels helpless. They (the government) have criminalised triple talaq, they have criminalised religious conversions and they are trying to bring Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) through backdoor. If I protest, they book me under UAPA or NSA.”

At the press meet, he also discussed how there are lack of opportunities and no inter-mobility among Muslims. According to him, because of Hindutva, his Hindu friends and business partners have distanced themselves from him.

Owaisi, however, advised Muslims not to lose hope. He said they should keep their spirits up and face the situation with courage.

He also urged the youth to self-introspect and keep themselves away from all societal evils by offering prayers, building character, desisting from taking dowry and helping the poor and needy, irrespective of their community.

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Priyanka announces 40% tickets to women in Uttar Pradesh polls

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 In a major decision that could prove to be a game-changer for the Congress, in particular, and, Indian politics, in general, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, on Tuesday, announced that her party would give 40 per cent tickets to women in the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

She said that all women who want to bring about a change in the system, are welcome to come forward and contest elections.

“Any woman who wants to contest can give an application till October 15,” she announced at a press conference.

Priyanka said the decision was for the woman named Paro, who had held her hand in Prayagraj and had said that she wanted to join politics.

“This decision is for Vaishnavi in Chandauli and the sisters-in-law of two rape victims of Hathras and Unnao, who are fighting for justice and against the system.

“This is for every woman who wants to be heard — whether it is Laxmi Valmiki of Lucknow who wants to be a doctor, the daughter of journalist Raman Kashyap who was killed in Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

“This is also for two women constables — Madhu and Pooja, who arrested me in Sitapur and were with me till 4.a.m. Power today amounts to trampling over the weaker sections of society, primarily women,” Priyanka said.

She said that women were not only stronger but more compassionate and sensitive and could bring a change in the political system.

Asked whether the same formula of 40 per cent reservation for women would be extended to the Congress-ruled states, including Punjab, Priyanka said, “I am in charge of UP and we have taken this decision here. If they (Punjab), they are welcome to implement the formula.”

She said that women were being divided on the basis of caste which weakened their battle for justice.

“A woman’s struggle is not limited to a gas cylinder or Rs 2,000. It goes beyond that. We have to rise above the shackles of casteism and communalism and come together as a group,” she said.

Priyanka, when asked whether wives and daughters of leaders would not take advantage of this reservation, said, “What is wrong with that if it leads to empowerment. In Amethi, a village pradhan’s wife contested and won elections. After some months, he met me and said that his wife has started making decisions in the house as well. This is empowerment.”

She said the Congress would help women fight elections and next time, they will be stronger. She further said that the candidates would be decided on the basis of merit.

Priyanka, however, parried questions about the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and whether she would contest elections.

“These issues will be decided later and we will let you know,” she stated.

Talking about the opposition onslaught on her, Priyanka said, “The other parties should get more creative when they attack me. Political tourist and Twitter leader have become stale,” she said.

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Babul Supriyo resigns as BJP MP after meeting LS Speaker

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 Former BJP leader Babul Supriyo met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla here on Tuesday and submitted his resignation.

After meeting the speaker, Supriyo said, “I thank the Prime Minister Modi, Amit Shah and party chief for the confidence shown in me. I thought that if I am not a part of the party, I shouldn’t keep the seat for myself.”

He also attacked BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari and said that he was an integral part of the Trinamool Congress till a few months ago, “but apart from politics, he has been a friend. He obviously has to say very harsh things about me politically, but he should advise his father and brother to resign from MP seats as they are not with Trinamool anymore.”

Supriyo praised Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for his induction in the party.

After joining Trinamool Congress on September 18, Supriyo had made it clear that he would not hold the MP seat as “it would be immoral” since he was elected MP of Asansol on a BJP ticket. He had said that he would resign after he meets with the Speaker.

Supriyo won from the Asansol parliamentary constituency twice — in 2014 and in 2019. He also became a Union Minister-of-state in the Narendra Modi cabinet, but was dropped from the cabinet during a reshuffle.

After that he announced to quit politics but within a few days, joined the Trinaool Congress.

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