Ahead of the first phase of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh on 10 February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi exuded confidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would emerge victorious and form government not only in UP but the other states going to the polls too. The PM also made a scathing attack on “dynastic politics”, saying, “it is a big threat and biggest enemy of democracy” and severely compromises on the talent coming into a political party. The Prime Minister said that the BJP learns from every election and the polls for the party are “like an open university”.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, the Prime Minister elaborated on his “fake Samajwadi” jibe at Samajwadi Party in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and said these parties were concerned about “parivarvad”. PM Modi said he had received a letter in the past stating that in Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh there were 45 people from the family who held various positions. The Prime Minister said the government was focusing on the welfare of the people and the BJP has a view that “government has no business to be in business”.
“If you listen to our economic principles since the days of Jan Sangh, we have faith in the people, on their capabilities and the government policies should give them opportunities. We are making such policies that they get the maximum opportunity. This is our view that government has no business to do business. How does it connect with socialism? This is against socialism,” he said.
The Prime Minister was answering a query about the economic philosophy of BJP and if the party had turned socialist in its views due to the large number of welfare programmes for the poor and other sections. “The government’s job is to care for the poor, to ensure food, toilets, houses, clean drinking water, roads for people. The government’s job is to care for the poor if they are sick. The job of the government is to see how the produce of small farmers reaches markets. My priority is to provide all this. If somebody calls it samajwad, it is acceptable to me,” he said.
The Prime Minister also referred to socialist leaders Ram Manhor Lohia and George Fernandes as well as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
“I am for the society. When I say fake socialism, it is ‘parivarvad’. Do you see Lohia’s family anywhere, he was a socialist; do you see the family of George Fernandes, he was also a Samajwadi. Nitish Babu, he is working with us, he is also a socialist. Do you see his family?” he asked.
Taking a jibe at Samajwadi Party headed by Akhilesh Yadav, he said they laid a stress on their family. “Someone sent me a letter once that in Samajwadi Pary in Uttar Pradesh there were 45 people from the family who held some positions. Someone else told me all those of around 25 years in age got the opportunity to contest elections. This dynastic politics is a threat for democracy,” he said.
Answering a query about allegations against BJP that it also has dynastic leaders, the Prime Minister said there is a difference between one or two people from a family getting tickets and winning elections and all important political positions in a party going to a particular family in the party. He said in dynastic parties’ positions like the president, parliamentary board chief are held by a person and if the father is not there for some reason, the son replaces him.
Citing examples, the Prime Minister said that two political parties in Jammu and Kashmir practised dynastic politics for decades. He said dynastic politics prevailed in parties in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. “The family runs the party, this is a big danger to democracy. The family-run parties are the biggest enemy of democracy as it negates the basic norms. Their goal is to save the family whether there is any benefit of the country” he said.
The Prime Minister said more talent entering public life is good for the country. “The biggest casualty in parties which save a family is talent. The democratisation of political parties is important. Dynastic politics stops youth from entering politics,” he said.
“When dynastic politics takes place, family is supreme, save the family whether the party is saved or not, whether the country is saved or not, when this happens, what is the first casualty? Howsoever the son, he will be the party chief, the biggest casualty then is talent,” he added. PM Modi said if a young person does not want to join the BJP, he does not have the option to go anywhere due to dynastic politics. “He (youth) feels he will be used for some time and then dumped. He feels that if I work for them I will go along and if I work for the country, I will not survive in politics. Youth are getting scared to enter public life,” he said. PM Modi said BJP is growing and the youth are joining it because it is functioning in a democratic manner.
Slamming Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his attack on the Central government for not issuing a clarification on issues like the India-China border dispute and rising unemployment in Parliament, PM Modi said that detailed answers were given by respective ministries and he had also spoken on some subjects whenever and wherever it was necessary. The PM targeted the former Congress chief and dubbed him as a “person who does not listen and does not sit in the House.” Stressing that he welcomes debate in Parliament, PM Modi said that he and his government do not attack anyone and believe in dialogue. “I don’t know the language to attack (someone) and it is not in my nature as well. But on the basis of logic and facts, the media might interpret my words in the House to stir some controversy.”
The Prime Minister was responding to a question on Congress allegations that during his speeches in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, he did not answer Rahul Gandhi’s questions on unemployment, the India-China issue and attacked the Congress party instead.
Elaborating further, the Prime Minister said, “We don’t attack anyone, instead we believe in holding dialogue. At times, there are debates (vaad-vivaad), interruptions (toka-taki) (in Parliament), I welcome this and that is why I don’t have any reason to be miffed (on these subjects).”
“I have given facts on every subject and spoken on every subject on the basis of facts. On some subjects, our external affairs ministry and defence ministry have given detailed answers and wherever it was necessary, I had also spoken. How do I reply to a person who does not listen, and does not sit in the House?” he added.
The PM also said: “I have seen in all states that there is the inclination towards the BJP and we will win the elections with a full majority. The people of all these five states will give BJP the opportunity to serve them.” Reiterating his party’s vision of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”, the Prime Minister said that whether it is election time or not, the BJP, despite the fact that it is in power or in coalition, strives for the welfare of the people.
“When we are in power, then with great energy and on a large scale we work with the mantra ‘Sabka Saath, Saabka Vikas’ (with everyone’s participation, we ensure the development of all),” the Prime Minister told ANI.
“Wherever BJP got the opportunity to work with stability, there the environment is of ‘pro-incumbency’ instead of ‘anti-incumbency’. The BJP always emerges victoriously with ‘pro-incumbency’ in elections,” the Prime Minister added.
On being asked on the Opposition claim that BJP does not understand regional aspirations, he said, “BJP is a party that believes in addressing regional aspirations for the development of the nation. I am the first Prime Minister in the country who has been a chief minister for a long time. I understand very well what are the aspirations and requirements of a state.”
Rejecting Opposition allegations of government misusing probe agencies, the PM said that elections keep taking place in the country and these agencies work according to their norms. The PM said corruption is adversely affecting the country and action by probe agencies in such cases adds to the national treasury for which the government should be lauded. He also said the government does not interfere in the working of probe agencies.
Hitting back at opposition parties who have in the past linked action by probe agencies with elections, he said these parties should agree for simultaneous polls and will then stop complaining. “Corruption in India is affecting the country like termites. Haven’t people raised their voices against such people from time to time? If I do not do anything, will the people forgive me? Wherever the government gets information (about corruption) should it not take steps? And after this, if billions and trillions of rupees are coming to the treasury of the country, then I should be praised,” the Prime Minister said.
“Also, elections keep taking place in India, so should the government stop working? Decide for once that there will be an election once in five years and everyone will contest it together. All the states and the Centre will go for elections at the same time and we will save money. Then, you will never see ED or CBI,” he added.
The PM said that he would not speak on the issue of his security breach in Punjab’s Ferozepur as it could impact the Supreme Court-mandated investigation. “I have maintained silence on the issue. The Supreme Court is looking into the matter seriously. Any statement that I make in this regard will impact the investigation, and it is not right.” Expressing trust in the judiciary, PM Modi said, “Whatever it is, the Supreme Court’s Committee will bring the truth before the nation. We should wait till then.”
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SIKH BUSINESSMEN KILLED IN PAK, INDIA SEEKS JUSTICE
Motorbike born assailants gunned down two Sikh businessmen on Sunday morning in Sarband, 17 km from Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan, in another incident of targeted killing of minorities in that country. Saljeet Singh and Ranjeet Singh were gunned down in broad daylight by two unidentified gunmen riding a motorbike killing them on the spot. The Sikh businessmen were in spice trading and had shops in Bata Tal bazaar in Sarband. The killers have not been identified even as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, while condemning the ghastly murders, has ordered the provincial police to bring the assailants to justice.
The killing of innocent Sikh traders has sent shockwaves across this side of the border as well. Condemning the ghastly killing, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann asked External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to raise the killing with Pakistan to ensure the safety of minorities there. “I strongly condemn the gruesome killing of two Sikh youths in Peshawar Pakistan. I also request our Foreign Minister @DrJaishankar ji to speak to Pakistan the concern and ensure safety of Hindu and Sikh minorities residing in Pakistan,” Mann twitted at 3:46 pm on Sunday.
Reacting to the killing, SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami said, ”We strongly condemn the cowardly murders of two Sikhs, yet again. The Pakistan government should fulfil its responsibility diligently as such murders of minorities is a matter of grave concern for entire world, especially the Sikhs. We demand that the culprits should be nabbed immediately and justice should be delivered to the aggrieved families at the earliest,” said Dhami. The SGPC chief also accused the governments of both Pakistan and India of having failed in ensuring the safety of life and property of Sikhs in Pakistan who are a minority there.
As the news of the cold-blooded killing spread far and wide, the Sikh community held a big protest march in Peshawar demanding the arrest of the killers.
Ranjit Singh and Kuljit Singh are the latest victims of targeted killings. A week after an audacious attack on Nankana Saheb, the birthplace of the founder of the Sikh faith, by a frenzied mob of Muslims, Ravinder Singh, a Sikh youth, was killed in Peshawar in January 2020. Two years back in 2018, prominent Sikh community member Charanjit Singh was murdered in Peshawar. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf National Assembly member Soren Singh was killed and in 2016 again in Peshawar.
Mundka building owner arrested, forensic investigation begins
After 27 people died in a fire at a four-storey office complex near Mundka metro station, Delhi Police on Sunday arrested the owner of the building, identified as Manish Lakra. Lakra, who was absconding after the incident, was arrested after the police conducted multiple raids in Delhi and Haryana. The police had arrested company owners Harish Goel and Varun Goel in the matter on Saturday. An FIR was registered under Sections of Indian Penal Code 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 120 (concealing design to commit an offence punishable with imprisonment), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) in connection with the fire incident.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Outer District, Sameer Sharma on Saturday had assured action against the concerned officers if they were found guilty in the investigation. “We have registered FIR under appropriate sections. Action will be taken against everyone who did anything wrong or didn’t follow rules. We will do a proper investigation, action will be taken against officers too if they’re found culpable,” Sharma had said.
Meanwhile there are allegations that while the fire-tenders allegedly reached the Mundka fire incident site late, a crane driver proved a saviour for over 50 people, mostly women, by rescuing them while the building was engulfed in a raging fire.
Dayanand Tiwari was driving his crane along with the owner of the vehicle when he approached the four-storey building that was caught in the fire, with fire-tenders allegedly not in sight on 13 May.
The fire incident claimed 27 lives while a number of people are reported to be missing.
Tiwari managed to save more than 50 lives with the help of the crane and the local bystanders.
“I was coming from Mundka Udyog Nagar when I saw the fire in the building. With the help of the crane, we rescued over 50 people, mostly women,” he said
Tiwari, who had the crane owner and a helper on his side, recalled the horrific incident and said that the fire tenders had reached the spot after one and a half hours.
“Later, the fire turned huge and we could not rescue others. Our crane owner and helper were also present during the rescue operation. It was a very frightening sight,” he said.
On Sunday, two forensic science teams reached the site of the fire mishap to assist the Delhi Police in the investigation. The charred remains of the victims have also been found at the site. The police have said that a forensic DNA examination would be carried out to identify the identities of the deceased.
“Our two teams, including senior experts, are working at the spot currently. They will identify the remains, and lift samples for the purpose of identification. The experts from FSL will be assisting police in identifying and lifting samples from the spot which will be later handed over to the Investigating Officer,” said Deepa Verma, Director, Forensic Science Laboratory in an official statement.
Meanwhile, S.K. Gupta, who is heading the forensic operations, said that body remains at fire-related crime scenes are very difficult to detect, collect and handle.
“Burned exhibits like body tissues at the scene are often modified to a similar appearance, and bones, in particular, become discoloured, brittle, and highly fragmented,” Gupta said. Rajnish Singh, Assistant Public Relations Officer of the FSL, said that the impact of the fire is severe on all the floors of the building and the body remains are disturbed, altered, and destroyed. “It is very challenging for our experts to identify and collect these exhibits at the crime scene, however, a detailed inspection of the crime fire site is going on” he added.
A total of 27 people died.
Manik Saha is sworn in as Tripura Chief Minister
After the unexpected resignation of the former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, the BJP state president Manik Saha was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tripura. Governor S.N. Arya administered the oath of office to the new CM Manik Saha at the Raj Bhavan, Agartala.
During the swearing-in ceremony, Saha promised to improvise the law and order situation in the state, taking the development agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Congratulation to Shri @DrManikSaha2 on taking oath as Tripura’s CM. Best wishes to him for a fruitful tenure. I am confident he will add vigour to the development journey of Tripura which began in 2018.” The year 2018 put an end to the 25-year communist rule in Tripura.
After quitting Congress, CM Manik Saha joined BJP in 2016 and was elevated to BJP state president in 2020. Earlier, this year, he had won the Rajya Sabha seat from Tripura. Saha is also the president of the Tripura Cricket Association. He is also a dentist by profession, who used to teach at Tripura Medical College in Hapania before entering mainstream politics.
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by Union minister Pratima Bhowmick and the former CM Biplab Kumar Deb, other BJP MLAs, and state ministers. Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma and minister Ram Prasad Paul appeared at the Raj Bhavan minutes after the swearing-in ceremony was over. They protested Saha’s appointment as Chief Minister at the BJP’s legislative party meeting on Saturday. According to the sources, the step was taken after an RSS report submitted to the BJP’s national leadership concluded that the party and government needed a change of guard. Saha’s excellent track record of ensuring the BJP’s victory in all thirteen municipal elections in November 2021 earned the faith of the party.
The opposition CPI(M) MLAs boycotted the oath-taking ceremony, claiming that the BJP’s administration has resulted in “fascist-style violence” in the state. Similarly, the Trinamool Congress, which is attempting to gain a foothold in the state, claimed that the Chief Minister was replaced because the BJP realised that the people had lost faith in the state administration.
AQVERIUM: First digital water bank receives US$500,000 grant
AquaKraft Digital Ventures Pvt. Ltd., a AquaKraft Group Ventures (www.aquakraft.net) today announced that it has received a USD 500,000 grant from Newrl (www.newrl.net) for its digital innovation, AQVERIUM (www.aqverium.com) – 1st Digital Water Bank. A brainchild of Dr. Subramanya Kusnur, Chairman & CEO of AquaKraft Group Ventures, AQVERIUM leverages the rich expertise of AquaKraft’s decade-long journey of advocating sustainability and impactful Water & Sanitation interventions across India. It enables to the creation of a Water Balance Sheet that accounts for every drop of Water making stewardship more accountable and rewarding, powered by a unique blockchain platform Newrl.
Speaking on occasion Vinay Rao, Co-Founder AquaKraft Digital Ventures Pvt. Ltd., said, “AQVERIUM is a next-generation cutting edge digital innovation that looks to leverage AquaKraft’s expertise in water & sanitation along with an optimum blend of Web 3 and various other technologies. One of the main factors for us to collaborate with Newrl is that it is the only public blockchain in the world to have an identity at the chain protocol layer. This mitigates the risk emanating out of anonymous participants on the blockchain. This grant will be used to create a mainstream defi ecosystem which involves tokenization of real-world assets such as Water which enables a high degree of governance and also helps with easier monetization.”
Newrl is a ‘trust network’ – a highly scalable, memory-aware, and multi-token blockchain with a rich protocol layer of template-driven transaction types, smart contracts, and DAOs. It is focused on effective tokenization of real-world assets/contracts and their frictionless financing on-chain ready to be used in institutional as well as DAO-based setups.
“We built Newrl with a specific focus on real-world applications of blockchain. We believe that many of the web3 innovations can add a lot of value to the mainstream. However, such use cases need to be compliant with regulations as well as KYC-AML norms. Newrl is the only public blockchain that enforces identity at the chain layer. We found AQVERIUM to be a fit use case for us to demonstrate our technological innovation and prowess with a real-world solution. It is a matter of great privilege for us to partner with the 1st Digital Water Bank.,” said Swapnil Pawar – Founder Newrl.
A lot has been talked about Water and the imminent crisis the world is facing. Everyone across all stakeholders acknowledges the fact that Water is precious and must be saved and conserved. Governments are trying their best to ensure per capita water adequacy with concrete and definitive steps in policy and action. It is time that every stakeholder realizes and acts in this direction. Water Stewardship needs to be an all-inclusive process across all stakeholders with forcing functions around the use and reuse of water.
Sharing his vision, Dr. Subramanya Kusnur, Founder Chairman & CEO, AquaKraft Group Ventures said, “We are delighted to partner with Newrl as it addresses all the challenges faced by networks today and enables KYC at the chain protocol level enabling a marketplace of qualified and bonafide participants. Water being core to sustainability will play a major role in the way Climate Control & ESG will evolve, and it was very important to create a trusted network that will enable the entire water ecosystem from generation to monetization.”
NOIDA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT WINS BEST INFRASTRUCTURE AWARD
Noida International Airport, the upcoming greenfield airport at Jewar, Uttar Pradesh, has been awarded Architectural Review Future Projects’ “Best Infrastructure Award 2022”. The AR Future Projects awards are a window into tomorrow’s cities, celebrating excellence in unbuilt and incomplete projects and the potential for positive contribution to communities, neighbourhoods, and urban landscapes around the world. Noida International Airport’s passenger terminal has been designed by Nordic, Grimshaw, Haptic, and STUP, merging Indian warmth and hospitality with Swiss efficiency. The design complements customer comfort with sustainability and timeless design with flexibility for future needs.
The terminal design envisions green spaces inside and around the building, offering a concept for a future airport city, and providing flexible expansion options to serve 30 million passengers per year in the future. The passenger terminal’s efficient layout, convincing design language, and multiple high-quality areas are spaced out with lush greenery with a balanced concept for both energy savings and a tangible sense of sustainability.
NIA’s design pivots on sustainable development and it will be India’s first net-zero emissions airport. It will feature design elements that are not only synonymous with local architecture, but also contribute to sustainable operations. For instance, the terminal’s central landscaped courtyard will bring in natural light and ventilation reducing energy costs and CO2 footprint. The campus landscaping is designed not just for aesthetic purposes but also for utilitarian value.
The other design elements synonymous with the local region’s architecture will include flights of steps at the terminal forecourt, like the famous ghats of Varanasi and Haridwar, welcoming and bringing together people. Delivering the look and feel of a haveli, a courtyard will allow fresh air and sunlight into the terminal building. Inspired by the important rivers of the region, a white, translucent, wavy roof will give the effect of a flowing river. The passenger terminal will feature intricate ornamental lattice screens, inspired by Indian architecture. Noida International Airport will showcase a grand entry to the state of Uttar Pradesh.
‘WE ARE HELPING IN SCHOOL MANAGEMENT THROUGH CENTRALIZED DATABASE’
In an interaction with The Daily Guardian Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar, Founder & CEO, School Canvas said they offer instant communication about all academic activities of a child. Parents need to download the app of School Canvas, where they can access everything related to the school announcements and students performance. It plays a key role in bridging school-parent gaps as well as teaching-learning gaps
Q: What made you get into this venture?
A: We are one of the leading ed-tech companies and renowned ERP service providers in India. Schoolcanvas.com has incepted the company in the year 2010. While I was studying at the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), I realized that various gaps were very much prevalent despite the technological advancements. Many institutions were still relying on pen and paper. The dire need of the hour was to close these gaps. I wanted to contribute to the same by transforming the way parents communicate with the schools and how the schools work. This is when we conceptualized and launched School Canvas.
Earlier, we offered only homework-related features. (Homework updates to parents, tracking submission, and so on). However, over the period, we modified the platform into an end-to-end ERP model. This way it evolved into a full-service solution provider, offering features of lesson planning, attendance management, bus tracking via GPS, fee reminders, and exam performance updates report card generation and analysis, and much more.
We are happy that we have had significant growth over the period. We are now the first-ever ed-tech company to implement the open API concept.
Q: What exactly is your company doing?
A: We are helping in seamless school management by establishing a centralized database and reducing the redundancy associated with data entry. Whether it is online fee collection, lesson planning, conducting exams, evaluating the performance of the students, or report card generation; every task in schools can now be automated in a way that would require minimal human assistance. Thus, they have been able to go paperless in the truest sense with our model. Apart from streamlining operations of schools; we are also playing a major role in bringing parents closer to their child’s performance in school as well as updating them on the ongoing activities. Circulating school notifications, a reminder for fee payment, homework updates, and GPS tracking, we at School Canvas offer solutions in the form of modules that pave the way for effective communication.
Q: How are you different from companies with similar profiles?
A: We are the only ERP Company catering and focusing on full-fledged ERP without any diversions. We are catering only to the school segment in the education industry.
Q: How is the edtech sector expected to grow?
A: As per IBEF, the Indian ed-tech industry stood at $750 million in 2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 39.77% and be valued at $4 billion by 2025. It is expected that the surge in the digital revolution will lead to the growth of the sector. However, contrary to the notion, the adoption of new-age technologies will not replace teachers. Rather, it will lead to the provision of effective learning experiences.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: We have had a successful ride so far and are bracing for rapid growth in the future. We are planning to increase our presence across the country as well as increase our team size.
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