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Yogi Adityanath to launch Mission Shakti for women in Navratri




The Yogi Adityanath government will dedicate the upcoming Navratri festival to women’s safety, dignity and empowerment by launching ‘Mission Shakti’ on October 17.

The initiative will begin in ‘Shardiya Navratri’ and will continue for the next six months till the ‘Chaitra Navratri’ in April.

The government spokesman said in a statement that various programmes will be organised from the Gram Panchayats to industrial units, school campuses to government offices, from the Durga Puja pandals to Ramlilas to reaffirm the faith and resolve towards the women power.

As many as 23 departments, including basic education, secondary education, higher education, MSME, other government and non-government agencies will be participating in the programmes.

Private cab operators will also be partners in this initiative.

Short films, street plays, safety pledge, sensitization about the women’s laws and a public display of inspirational stories of women will mark the events during the drive.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the Mission Shakti should start with mass awareness programmes during the ‘Shardiya Navratri’ that begins on October 17 and celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura, symbolizing the victory of good over evil.

The Chief Minister has directed all the departments to prepare their respective action plans to execute the mission.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Avanish Awasthi said the special awareness drive will aim to boost the morale of women and children and empower them by making them aware of their rights.

The idea is to also highlight the state government’s sensitivity in handling cases related to them while ensuring the strictest action against the culprits.

The drive has been announced in the backdrop of the uproar over a 19-year-old Dalit woman’s alleged gang-rape and murder in Hathras. The state government has set up a special investigating team (SIT), recommended investigation by the CBI and arrested all the four accused.

Awasthi said that along with the Director General of Police Hitesh Chandra Awasthi, he held a meeting to prepare an outline for the drive. He said that additional DG (Women Power Line-1090) Neera Rawat made a presentation on carrying out the drive successfully.

“For wider reach of this special awareness drive, 11 other departments like medical education, technical education, vocational education, higher education, basic education, secondary education, labour, employment exchange, Panchayati Raj, rural development and information and public relations department have also been roped in for this nine-day campaign,” he said.

He further added that rights and laws related to women and children will be publicised through police stations and other government departments; posters will also be put up at different schools, colleges, universities and other training centres and at Panchayats, where women’s involvement is in large numbers in urban as well as rural areas.

A senior police official said that workshops will be organised to make women and children aware of the security measures to keep them safe and to sensitise them to speak out when they are victimised.

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Wrong of party MLAs to participate in anti-coal protests: Goa BJP chief



Sadanand Shet Tanavade

Irked by more and more ruling BJP MLAs joining public protests against transportation and handling of coal at the state’s only major port, state BJP President Sadanand Shet Tanavade faulted the party’s legislators, saying their actions should remain within the “respectable limits”.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Tanavade said that if the legislators had issues related to governance and government projects, they should contact the Chief Minister instead of participating in public protests.

“Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is not for increasing coal transportation in Goa. Our efforts are to minimise it. MLAs have to stay within the respectable limits. Law and order is equal to a common man, MLA and minister. No one should break law and order,” Tanavade said.

Pressurised by their respective constituents, an increasing number of ruling BJP MLAs, including Water Resources Minister Filipe Neri Ferrao, former Environment Minister Alina Saldanha and Cuncolim MLA Clafasio Dias, have openly joined the agitations against increased movement of coal through rural Goa.

Tanavade said that while coal transportation, which has been going on for decades, cannot be stopped in one day, the Chief Minister’s assurance on Tuesday that coal transportation in the future would be reduced by 50 per cent should be respected.

“A common man can protest against public works, but an MLA cannot. They have to report it to the government or to the CM. They should not take law and order in their hands,” Tanavade said.

“I will speak to the MLAs concerned. I definitely feel it is wrong… Coal movement cannot be stopped in a day. The CM has said that coal transportation will be reduced to 50 per cent,” he also said.

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Delhi Minister Gopal Rai tests positive for Covid-19




Delhi Environment Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Gopal Rai on Thursday said he has tested positive for coronavirus infection. Rai suffered from corona-related symptoms after which he underwent a test which turned out to be positive. He is now in self-quarantine.

During the last 24 hours, 5,246 persons in Delhi have been found positive for coronavirus while 99 persons have died. According to the Delhi government, overall 8,720 persons have died from Covid-19 till now in the national Capital.

Gopal Rai on Thursday said, “After initial symptoms of suffering from Covid-19, I had undergone a corona test whose report came positive. Those who have come in contact with me in the last few days, I urge them to take care of your health and immediately get yourself tested for the infection.”

The Minister has mild symptoms of corona and his present health condition is stable. He has been very active for the last few days over the increasing pollution levels in Delhi. During this time he also held several meetings. However, after having tested positive for Covid-19, Rai has postponed the meetings with all other departments under his jurisdiction.

Before Gopal Rai, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain had also been infected with coronavirus.

Apart from several Delhi Ministers, many MLAs from the AAP have also been detected to be corona positive including Pramila Tokas, Girish Soni, Rajesh Gupta, Rituraj Govind Jha, Virender Singh Kadian, Surendra Kumar, Vishesh Ravi and BJP MLA Ajay Mahawar. However, all of them have recovered from the deadly infection.

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Farmers who fear losing MSP at vanguard of protest: P. Chidambaram




P. Chidambaram is former Finance and Home Minister of the country and a senior leader of the Congress. His views on economic matters have always held value. He spoke on a wide range of issues from farmers MSP to the Covid-hit economy making a V-shaped recovery.

Lambasting the government’s economic mismanagement, he argued that not only was it status quoist but was regressive.

Excerpts from an exclusive interview with IANS:

Q: Where do you think the govt is using the petro product excise funds? Even as it keeps retail fuel prices elevated and consumers burdened? Is it diverting them to social welfare schemes?

A: It is difficult to answer the question without looking at the Budget Estimates (BE) and the actual expenditure till date under each welfare scheme and other schemes. In broad terms, it would be correct to say that government’s budgeted revenues are not being realized; that expenditure under certain heads like defence and health will be over the initial estimates; and that expenditure has been curtailed under some heads. Yet there is a larger gap than budgeted between total revenues and total expenditure. Hence, the additional revenue earned through mid-year taxation is perhaps going into filling the gap and containing the revenue and fiscal deficits.

Q: The Modi govt over the last six years seems to have followed the UPA welfare economics model and seems to have succeeded with deeper administrative reform by winning several elections predicated on this path?

A: In the last six years, the BJP has won elections and has lost elections. You seem to have forgotten that in the last six years the BJP lost elections in Karnataka, Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. Besides, the BJP performed poorly in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is correct that the BJP has relied entirely on the welfare schemes conceived and first implemented under the UPA governments. I don’t have any evidence of “deeper administrative reforms”.

Q: How severe do you think the impact of Covid is on the economy and do you see the consumption economy making a V-shaped return?

A: The impact will be very severe. India will be among the most affected economies, according to the IMF and Oxford Economics. A recovery will be delayed and gradual. I do not expect a V-shaped recovery.

Q: The government finances seem to be in disarray, states are making a ruckus over GST compensation, what does the future hold?

A: Both the Centre’s and the States’ finances are in disarray. The central government has not kept its promises to devolve the states’ share of tax revenues or grants or GST compensation. The future is bleak for a federal system.

Q: The contentious farm bills have drawn the ire of the farm community but do you think the Congress has made it a political rallying point? Where has the govt let down the farmers, seems to be good reform?

A: The severe drawbacks of the farm bills have been highlighted and exposed, I do not wish to repeat them here. The crucial question is MSP: how many farmers get MSP today and how many will get it in the future? Farmers who have traditionally benefited from MSP, and fear losing it, are the farmers in the forefront of the protest. For the Congress that built the three pillars of the current food security system – MSP, Public Procurement and PDS – it is an article of the party’s faith that we must fight for MSP and PDS.

Q: Is this govt a status quoist when it comes to economic reform or do you think they have been bold?

A: The BJP government is not only status quoist, it is regressive. It is adopting policies that will take us back to the era of protection, autarky, licenses and controls.

Q: Should the RBI give corporates bank licenses? Are you happy with the conduct of the central bank at this crucial time in our imperials economic and financial System?

A: No, allowing corporates and business houses into the banking sector to set up full-fledged banks is a bad idea. I have already given our reasons. We support the analysis made by Dr Raghuram Rajan and Dr Viral Acharya. The RBI has yielded much of its autonomy to the government, which is a matter of grave concern.

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