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DMK MP questions Centre over hike in fuel prices, compares rates with neighbouring countries

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 22 (ANI): Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Dayanidhi Maran on Monday hit out at the Centre over hile in fuel prices across the country and asked why the prices are so high as compared to neighboring countries.
The DMK demonstrated against a fuel price hike in Chennai’s Valluvar Kottam area today.
“Every common man is paying tax, GST, cess etc, but the Central government is favouring only a few large corporations. When the prices are less in Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, why are they on surge in India?” Maran during the protest.
Recalling Nirmala Sitharaman’s (Union MInister) 2013 statement, he said: “In 2013, Nirmala ji said that due to petrol and diesel price hike, the government is burdening the common man. Now, she is finance minister and is casually throwing the ball at the state government,” he added.
The prices of petrol and diesel have been increasing continuously for more than 10 days and in some states, the price of petrol has even crossed Rs 100 in some states. Opposition parties also held protests in different parts of the country over the rise of prices of diesel and petrol. (ANI)

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‘Another theatric’, says Dharmendra Pradhan on Rahul’s ‘Emergency a mistake’ remark

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A day after Rahul Gandhi said that the Emergency imposed by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a mistake, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday took to Twitter to slam the Congress leader, terming his remarks as “another theatrical exercise.”

“Accepting that Emergency was a mistake is another theatrical exercise by Rahul Gandhi to fool the nation. Such insincere and tactical regrets can not wash away memories of the dark chapter when fundamental rights were infringed, press was gagged, and the institutions were held hostage,” Pradhan tweeted. “The country has not forgotten how the government of the day had the gumption to tell the Hon’ble Supreme Court that the right to life had been suspended,” he added.

The union minister added that Rahul’s comments were part of a trick by Congress which it uses to come to power after being rejected by people of the country.

Pradhan also asked Rahul Gandhi if he forgot his ordinance-trashing episode and how he shamed and disrespected the then Prime Minister of India.

“Has Rahul forgotten that Late Rajiv Gandhi apologised but justified the Emergency and thereafter attempted gagging the press by bringing ‘Defamation Bill’, curbing civil liberties and seeking to spy on citizens through the Post Office Amendment Bill in 1986?” he further remarked.

The MP from Wayanad, while participating in a webinar organised by US university Cornell on Tuesday, had said that the Emergency imposed in the country in 1975 was wrong.

“There is a fundamental difference between what happened in the Emergency, which was wrong, and what is happening now. Congress party, at no point, attempted to capture India’s constitutional framework. Our design doesn’t allow us that. Even if we want to do it, we can’t,” the Congress leader had added in the interaction with professor Kaushik Basu.

On June 25, 1975, Indira Gandhi had announced a national emergency in view of “threats to national security”. During the emergency, opposition leaders were arrested, censorship was imposed and a ban was announced on grassroots organisations which lasted for a period of 21 months.

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Centre’s 3 ‘mantras’ for infrastructure sector are upgrade, create and dedicate: Piyush Goyal

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Piyush Goyal

Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said the Central government has three ‘mantaras’ for the infrastructure sector, which is upgrade, create and dedicate.

Goyal, who was speaking at the Maritime India Summit 2021, mentioned that India’s capacity of major ports has almost doubled in six years. “We have developed smart cities and industrial parks and integrated ports with the coastal economic zones. Our government’s three mantras for the infrastructure sector are: upgrade, create and dedicate,” he said. “International and domestic freight costs will reduce from 13-14 per cent cost of goods to a more acceptable international benchmark of 8 per cent,” he said.

During his speech at the Maritime India Summit 2021 emphasised on integration of road, rail and waterways to bring down the cost of transportation logistics and ensure success in achieving one nation, one market.

He highlighted that the government is working on multi-modal logistics solutions to bring down the cost of transportation and increase supply chain efficiency.

Appealing to all stakeholders to utilise the opportunity to transform from being ‘service provider’ to ‘knowledge provider’, the Minister said, “If we re-invent with technology driven solutions like robotics, automation, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, our sector will be SAFE: Sustainable, Agile, Futuristic, and Efficient.”

“It’s time that we plan our port sector in such a manner that we can have modern and efficient ports, turnaround time of ships is brought down significantly. A more competitive spirit will help to keep the cost in freight and at port low. The Maritime India 2030 vision launched by Prime Minister highlights the priorities of our government. The slated investments of Rs 3 lakh crore in various port projects will help create 20 lakh new jobs in this sector. The investment in the Sagarmala projects will boost our Maritime infrastructure and help expand our freight corridors,” he added.

The Union Minister said, “We are working to turn our coastal region into a role model for ease of living and ease of doing business.”

He urged the industry captains to build industry at sea coasts. “We on our part will ensure ease of doing business, and will work in partnership with states for enhancing ease of doing business at state and local level.”

“Let us work together with a triple engine: – Engine of Central Government, Engine of State Government, Engine of our Robust Maritime Sector. Let the engine of growth and development in India prosper and flourish.”

During the summit, he informed that as on February 28, the Railways has moved 110 crore metric tonnes of freight traffic, which is exactly the same quantity that was moved in the previous year. “Despite COVID we have reached the same level of freight traffic. By December 2023, the entire rail network will be fully electrified and by 2030, the entire rail network will run of renewable energy,” he added.

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I-T RAIDS PROPERTIES OF ANURAG KASHYAP AND TAPSEE PANNU IN MUMBAI

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The Income Tax department on Wednesday carried out searches at properties of prominent filmmakers and actor including Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl, Madhu Mantena and Tapsee Pannu in Mumbai as a part of an investigation against Phantom Films, which was dissolved in 2018.

The reason being for these raids is said to be tax evasion and after the company has been dissolved the main point would be the money transaction and profit sharing.

Searches are also underway at several locations in Mumbai and Pune including the properties of Vijay Subramaniam (CEO Kwan). Exceed Entertainment and Kwan Entertainment are Mumbai’s popular celebrity management agencies.

Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Madhu Mantena, and Vikas Bahl had found a film production company Phantom Films in Mumbai. In March 2015, Reliance Entertainment got 50 per cent stake in the company.

The company was later dissolved in 2018 facing a sexual assault allegation on Vikas Bahl, brought by a former employee of Phantom.

Actor Payal Ghosh had accused filmmaker Anurag Kashyap of sexually assaulting her and Anurag has denied all the allegations made by Payal against him on social media.

Payal confessed the incident took place during the end of 2014, when he was working in movie ‘Bombay Velvet’.

In its seven years of operation, Phantom Films worked with several top Bollywood actors, directors and co-producers.

Taapsee Pannu had also worked with Phantom Films’ Mammarziyaan in 2018.

Phantom Films has produced several Bollywood Films. Ghoom ketu, Super 30, Madaan, Shaandaar, Hasee Toh Phasee and Queen are among such movies.

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JAISHANKAR ALL SET TO REACH BANGLADESH TODAY AHEAD OF PM MODI’S EXPECTED VISIT

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New Delhi : Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s expected visit to Bangladesh, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar will pay an official visit to Dhaka on 4 March at the invitation of his counterpart Dr A.K. Abdul Momen.

According to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Jaishankar will meet his counterpart and will also call on Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The EAM’s visit to Bangladesh follows the Prime Minister-level Virtual Summit held between two countries on December 17, 2020, and will also provide an opportunity to take stock of the progress in bilateral relations.

Hasina, in conversation with PM Modi during the virtual summit in January, said that India is the country’s true friend for its support during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.

Both sides had also reiterated their strong commitment to eliminating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

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RSS WASN’T PART OF FREEDOM STRUGGLE, JUST CHANTING ‘BHARAT MATA KI JAI’ ISN’T PATRIOTISM: UDDHAV

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and said mere chanting of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” does not make one a patriot or prove one’s love for the country.

Addressing the Assembly during the Budget session, Uddhav Thackeray said the Shiv Sena was not part of the freedom struggle but neither was the BJP’s “parent organisation” (the RSS). “Therefore, only chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ does not prove your love for the country. You don’t have the right to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ if you are not going to give justice to people and if you are forcing farmers to protest on the streets,” Uddhav Thackeray said.

While the Shiv Sena have been targeting the BJP on a regular basis, this was a rare occasion when Uddhav Thackeray attacked the RSS too.

The Maharashtra CM also took a potshot at the Centre over changing the Motera stadium’s name to Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad. “We won’t lose any cricket match as the name of the stadium (Motera) has been changed to Narendra Modi stadium. We have named the international airport after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj but they have changed Sardar Patel stadium’s name. We don’t have to learn Hindutva from you,” said Thackeray.

On February 25, amid a controversy over the renaming of the cricket stadium, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani clarified that the name change involves only the Motera stadium and the sports complex where it is located will continue to be named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Hitting out at Congress, Rupani had said, “We are building a sports complex on a 233-acre land and have named it as Sardar Patel Sports Complex. Only the cricket stadium has been named Narendra Modi Stadium. So Congress has no right to criticise.” The newly-built Motera Stadium was renamed the Narendra Modi Stadium in Gujarat on 24 February.

Thackeray also spoke about the recently passed farm laws and opposed the views of the Centre stating that farmers are in trouble in Punjab. “Farmers are in trouble there (Punjab). Their power and water supplies have been cut off and nails put in their path. But they run away when they see China. If this kind of preparation was made at borders with China or Bangladesh, infiltration won’t happen,” he said.

The 10-day joint session of the Maharashtra Legislature began on March 1. The budget of Maharashtra will be tabled on March 8.

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CIVIC POLLS: ANDHRA HC SUSPENDS SEC ORDERS

Lokeswara Rao

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court suspended some of the directives issued by the State Election Commission (SEC), on ward volunteers and accepting renominations of candidates in some municipalities even after the end of the procedure. State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar had directed district collectors to keep ward volunteers away from municipal polls, both directly and indirectly. He ordered that all the rules which apply to government employees will also apply to the volunteers according to the model code of conduct.

The SEC also directed that the responsibility of distributing voters’ slips should not be given to the volunteers. Ramesh Kumar issued these orders claiming suspicions that volunteers may allegedly behave in a biased way in favour of some candidates. The High Court ruled against Kumar’s order of taking back the tablets given to volunteers as part of their governance delivering duties, all of which now stand cancelled. Likewise, the court gave an interim suspension of the SEC’s order allowing renominations in Tirupati, Rayachoti and Punganuru municipalities as the nomination procedure has already been finished. The court ordered that no new opportunities should be given for nominations. Before the court’s orders, the ruling party leaders criticised the SEC for issuing orders restricting the volunteers and allowing renominations in these three civic bodies.

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