Voting for the Assembly elections in West Bengal will take place in eight phases, starting on 27 March, announced the Election Commission on Friday. Counting of votes will be done on 2 May.
“In the first phase, polling will take place on 30 seats. The second phase has been scheduled on April 1 and will cover 30 constituencies, followed by the third phase on April 6 for 31 seats and the fourth phase on April 10 for 44 constituencies,” said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora.
“Voting for the fifth phase will take place on April 17 for 45 seats, sixth phase for 43 seats on April 22, seventh phase on April 26 for 36 seats and the last and eighth phase on April 29 for 35 seats,” the CEC said.
However, after the dates for the West Bengal Assembly polls were announced on Friday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the Election Commission’s decision to divide the polls into eight phases and alleged that it was being done to suit the convenience of the BJP.
Addressing mediapersons, Banerjee said, “I request the ECI to consider West Bengal as their own state, not through the eyes of BJP. I respect the ECI’s decision, but why have they broken-up the districts? South 24 Parganas is our stronghold. Voting will be held in three different phases there. Has it been done for the convenience of PM Modi and Amit Shah?”
Banerjee alleged that the BJP was misusing its authority as the ruling party at the Centre to influence state polls. “The Centre cannot misuse its powers for a state election. If they do it, then they will have to face the music. We are common people. We will fight our battle. BJP has sent money to all districts through agencies. I request the ECI to stop the misuse of money.”
“The Union Home Minister should be concerned about the country. He cannot misuse his powers for elections here. We welcome the Prime Minister but he cannot misuse his powers for West Bengal polls,” added Banerjee.
The ECI has appointed two special police observers, Vivek Dubey and M.K. Das, for West Bengal. With the announcement of the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the state.
The ECI on Friday also announced that, besides West Bengal, the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry (Union Territory) shall be going for polls. “A total of 824 assembly constituencies shall be going for polls during these elections. 18.68 crore electors will cast votes at 2.7 lakh polling stations in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry,” added Arora.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly elections are to be held in a single phase on 6 April. Kerala also goes to polls on 6 April. The Assam Assembly elections will be held in three phases: The first on 27 March, the second on 1 April and the third on 6 April. Meanwhile, Puducherry elections will also be held on 6 April. Counting of all votes will be held on 2 May.
Addressing mediapersons, CEC Arora shared, “In the thick of the pandemic, ECI started test trials with elections of 18 seats to Rajya Sabha. After that came the challenge of the Bihar elections, it was indeed a watershed moment for ECI. It proved to be a litmus test. Voting turnout was 57.34 percent, exceeding the 2015 Assembly polls and 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the state.”
The terms of the legislative assemblies of five states—West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry—will come to an end either in May or in June this year. Elections for the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal that comprises 294 seats will be held soon as the current tenure ends on 30 May.
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PM MODI ON MISSION TO FULFILL PANDIT DEENDAYAL UPADHYAY JI’S VISION
When developing the Ekatma Manav Darshan, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Ji proposed an integrated approach to the problems of mankind. In many ways, the philosophy proposed by Pandit Ji which Jan Sangh adopted as it’s official doctrine is the first of its kind indigenous model. In 1951 when Shyama Prasad Mukherjee founded the Jan Sangh, the world was aggressively split into competing models of development namely Capitalism where individualism reigned supreme and Communism where the ruling order exerted complete control over the collective. In this world order which saw cold war for next few decades, Pandit Deendayal Ji showed courage by opposing western capitalist individualism and Marxist socialism even while welcoming western science. Humankind according to Upadhyay had four heirarchial attributes of body, mind, intellect and soul which corresponded to four universal objectives. By rejecting social systems where individuals reigned supreme or got crushed, he pointed out that problem of western ideologies is that they consider only materialist objectives of desire and wealth. Even after India became independent, the attempt at decolonization of Indian political thought was a major contribution by Pandit Deendayal Ji which the current Modi Government is continuing under it’s rule.
Ever Since the Modi Government came into power in 2014, the focus of the administration has always been on ‘”Antyodaya” i.e the rise of the last person. Western societies measuring their economic might aided by capitalism often paint a rosy picture of themselves due to the focus on top of the pyramid. GDP is growing because the number of HNIs and new billionaires are rising they claim. While the average wealth surely does rise, it doesn’t take into account the inequity such a system fosters. By tilting the pyramid upside down and claiming that upliftment of those who are at the bottom of economic pyramid is the aim of the BJP, PM Modi is living upto the visions of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. We aim at the progress and happiness of “Man”, the Integral Man. The protagonists of the two systems fight with ‘Man’ on the state. Both of them do not understand man, nor do they care for his interests,” Upadhyay Ji had said in a speech in 1965. Unless extreme poverty isn’t reduced, an integrated development of the nation as a whole would be impossible.
The welfare schemes introduced by PM Modi lays bare his emphasis on Antyodaya. The Ujjwala Yojana of the Modi Government was completed ahead of deadline in 2019 when eight crore beneficiaries who didn’t have gas connection received free LPG connection. The second version of the scheme targeted at one crore beneficiaries is expected to translate into full LPG penetration in the country. With a scheme which targets women at the bottom of the pyramid, PM Modi is fulfilling the Antyodaya vision. The other vulnerable category namely the elderly has been immensely benefitted by Atal Pension Yojana. In a country like India with a huge number of people employed in unorganised sector, a scheme which offers monthly pension of Rs.1000 to Rs.5000 to any person after 60 years of age clearly points to the priorities of the Modi Government. The Prime Minister Aawas Yojana is another such scheme which helps those who struggle to buy a home. The ambitious scheme has been given a fresh target of delivering about 2.67 crore houses by the end of 2022, 1.53 crore houses (60%) have been completed so far and another 48 lakh have been sanctioned and are in various stages of construction. The government is aiming to complete 2.01 crore houses hence by March 2022 and the rest of the target (65 lakh houses) by the end of 2022.
Narendra Modi Ji himself made his target of Antyodaya clearn when he stated from the rampart of the Red Fort on August 15, 2021 that “The biggest advantage of this 100 percent accomplishment rate is that no one remains deprived of the benefits of the government scheme. When the government operates with a target to reach the person in the last line, only then there is no discrimination and there is no scope for corruption,”.
The vision of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Ji was well ahead of his times as the world is realizing now. When the philosophy was first propounded, the world was divided between Capitalism and Communism. In the decades that followed, the hollowness of Communism led to the collapse of Soviet Union while the excesses of Capitalism is leading to unrest in Western societies with great economic inequities. Pandit Ji’s integrated approach has stood the nation in good stead and PM Modi Ji has taken it on a mission mode to realise the vision. Victor Hugo rightly said that “No army can stop an idea whose time has come”.
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VIT CONDUCTS VIRTUAL CONVOCATION WITH DR WHITTINGHAM AS CHIEF GUEST
VIT-AP University conducted a virtual Convocation for the class of 2021 on 23 September 2021. Nobel Laureate Dr M Stanley Whittingham of Binghamton University (SUNY), USA was the Chief Guest for the ceremony and delivered the Convocation Address. He had incidentally been awarded the coveted award in 2019 for the development of lithium-ion batteries. Whittingham also inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi Block, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy Block, Savithri Bhai Phule Block, Rock plaza (Student Activity Center).
Dr G. Viswanathan, Founder and Chancellor of VIT, presided over the convocation ceremony along with faculty and staff in attendance.
Out of 460 students, the University presented 10 gold medalists, two PhDs and rank holders from Bachelor, Master, and PhD. Degrees in Engineering and BBA. (BBA-27, M.Tech VLSI-6 , B.Tech (Mechanical)-67, B.Tech (ECE)-120, B.Tech (CSE)-238 Ph.D-2) were presented.
The virtual convocation followed all the ceremonial aspects of the regular Convocation with a welcome address by the Vice-Chancellor, conferment of degrees by the Chancellor, Chancellor’s address followed by the convocation address by the Chief Guest.
Dr G. Viswanathan, Founder and Chancellor, VIT, while congratulating the alumni and the graduating students along with their families on the Convocation 2021 of VIT-AP University, said, “Graduations and commencement ceremonies mark major transitional golden moments in a student’s life. They celebrate all the hard work you put into your education and achievements and make you look forward to the future with much hope. As we reflect on the past year and unprecedented challenges brought on by Covid-19, we also celebrate all that we accomplished by working together, supporting one another, and keeping each other safe,” he said.
“Great day for all of you on this convocation day. It is the first step to the next part of your life experience. Travel the world, take advantage of every opportunity, take risks, always connect with your mentors. Grab the opportunity, have dreams, be patient, research will take time. Maybe one of you will have my experience this is what you can anticipate,” said Dr Whittingham while congratulating the graduates.
DID CHANDIGARH ADMINISTRATION FLOUT WILDLIFE PROTECTION ACT, ASSUME MOEFCC LETTER AS PERMISSION TO FUNCTION BIRD AVIARY?
A few days back, Chandigarh Adviser to the Administrator Dharam Pal claimed that they have got all permissions from the Ministry of Environment, Forest Wildlife and Climate Change to function a walkthrough Aviary of Birds. Whereas the reality is far different than what the Ministry had said in its recent letter to the Chief Wildlife Warden dated 14 September 2021. Rather Department of Environment Forest and Wildlife is in a fix as they had flouted Wildlife Protection Act while buying an Indian Mandarin Duck, which is a prohibited species under the act. Central Zoo Authority had asked them to remove the species.
MOEFCC did not mention and given any permission for the Bird Aviary. Rather in its letter, Sunil Sharma, Assistant Inspector General of Forest (WL), wrote to the Chief Wildlife Warden, “A Field Appraisal Committee from Central Zoo Authority had carried out an inspection of the proposed Aviary in Chandigarh and submitted its report to the Chief Wild Life Warden. Chandigarh. The Committee, in its report, besides other recommendations, has also indicated that all species except Mandarin Duck, are non-native and does not come under the purview of the definition of “captive animals” as per Section 2 (5) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and that Mandarin Duck be removed from the collection, as the species is covered under Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The report also indicates that given the proposed collection, the said facility does not come under the definition of Zoo as per Section 2 (39) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. In this regard, the undersigned is directed to request for needful action as per recommendations made in the report of the Field Appraisal Committee of Central Zoo Authority and to ensure that there is no violation of any Act/Rule in this regard.”
While talking to The Daily Guardian, Adviser Dharam Pal stated, “As told to me by Department IFS Officer, CZA asked us to remove the said species, it was prohibited after we bought it. We do not need any more permissions now from anyone to function it ahead. Rest legalities, in this case, are better in the knowledge of the department’s officer.”
As per a retired IFS of Arunachal Pradesh, “Mandarin Duck has been found in India. That is why it is an Indian bird, which is completely prohibited to buy or sell under the Wildlife Protection Act and the provision of punishment has also been kept for the violator. An IFS officer is not aware of this, it is a matter of great surprise. Till 2013, it was visible several times in states like Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur but in 2014 it was visible in Assam after 112 years.”These questions are still standing tall-
No forest diversion was done before the construction of the Aviary.
A walkthrough Bird Aviary is a forest area which is shown and mentioned in the official map of Chandigarh that it is an unclassified forest. Chandigarh Forest and Wildlife department has developed Nagar Van Udyan under the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife scheme and crores of rupees were spent. Now, this is a pertinent question that why did the said department not seek forest diversion before constructing the said Aviary? It is mentioned in the department’s papers that it is eco-tourism project, and as per MOEFCC, eco-tourism is non-forest activity for which forest diversion is imperative before aviary construction.
The place where Bird Aviary is constructed is the catchment area of Sukhna on which Punjab and Haryana High Court had already prohibited any sort of construction and matter is subjudice. Even then the department had constructed the Aviary?
Chandigarh Forest and Wildlife Department had violated the wildlife protection act and bought Mandarin Duck which is prohibited under the Act, in this way why MOEFCC didn’t take action on Officer?
HIMACHAL TO ACHIEVE 100% VACCINATION OF COVID-19 BY NOVEMBER: CM THAKUR
Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal has appreciated the achievements of the Himachal Pradesh Government in becoming the first state of the country in providing 100% first dose of Covid-19 vaccination to the eligible age groups besides ensuring food safety to the targeted groups. He was addressing Sewa Aur Samarpan Abhiyan at Totu-Jutogh in Shimla here on Friday.
The Union Minister said that the state government has made tremendous progress in all spheres of development during the last fifty years after attaining the status of statehood. He said that the State had not only emerged as a role model for hill States of the country but also shown the path for other big states.
While congratulating the CM and people of the state on the golden jubilee year of statehood, Goyal said that the State during about four years has achieved various milestones under the able leadership of CM Jai Ram Thakur. He said that the Nation was fortunate that it was being headed by strong and dynamic leadership in form of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that during the last 20 years as CM of Gujarat and thereafter Prime Minister of the country Narendra Modi has worked tirelessly and relentlessly without taking even one daybreak.
CM Thakur while welcoming the Union Minister said that the Sewa Aur Samarpan Abhiyan was being launched in the country to celebrate two decades of Prime Minister in public services. The birthday of the Prime Minister on 17 September was celebrated as Sewa Divas and various welfare activities were being organised to mark the occasion. The CM said that the Union Government has provided wholehearted support and cooperation to the state government to effectively tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.
Debabrata elected chairman of Audit Bureau of Circulations
United Breweries Limited, Chief Marketing Officer Debabrata Mukherjee (Debu) has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) for the year 2021-2022.
Debabrata is currently working as CMO at UB Group. In his current role, he is responsible for managing a diverse set of local and global brands such as Kingfisher, Ultra, Heineken, and Amstel. He has an experience of more than 27 years in this field.
Debabrata started his career with Unilever India and after working for four years, he was appointed as the Franchise Manager of Coca-Cola, Mumbai in 1998. He has played a major role in growing Coca-Cola Company’s operations in India, Korea and South-West Asia. He left the services of the Coca-Cola Company in April 2018 as the VP of SA Operations to join the Hindustan Times Group. He then joined the United Breweries group in 2019. He has been part of the Audit Bureau of Circulation, Management Council since 2011 and has served as the Chairman of the Council. He has also served as a jury member for several Industry Leadership Awards.
CENTRE WORKING TO BRING FUEL UNDER GST: NIRMALA SITHARAMAN
Goods and Service Tax (GST) was introduced in 2017 and since then it is expected that the central government would bring fuel under GST which would be relieving for consumers reeling under high fuel prices. Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government is planning to bring the fuel under GST and a couple of rounds of meetings have taken place between Centre and state. After the consent on part of both rates would be fixed. Although, the Central government is mulling over a strategy for the same. It is worth mentioning that not bringing fuel under GST would put additional financial pressure on consumers. Thus, the demand of bringing the fuel under the above will be relieving for consumers to some extent.
Further, she said that the GST council will have to take the decision pertaining to the fixation of the rate. While reacting to questions regarding the fiscal health of Haryana, Sitharaman said that even with the corona epidemic, the state performed well and no borrowing was made by the state. Besides, the state government refrained from using additional sources which is worth praise. She personally asked CM Manohar Lal whether the state required any financial assistance but he denied it.
The Central government is trying its best to give benefits of all schemes starter during its regime. Likewise, the Mudra scheme was launched for the betterment of deprived people of the society including Schedule Cast (ST) and Schedule Tribe (ST) along with women as they are being given loans without bank guarantee to start a business.
While giving an answer regarding a question over demonetisation, she said that it has played a vital role in controlling fake currency which used to emerge as a huge problem. Besides it also led to tightening the noose against terrorism which is a matter of serious concern. These steps are the economic reforms required to make the commoners economically and to some extent, such reforms proved their mettle. Besides, the government continues to put its best towards the ease of doing business.
During the corona pandemic, digitalisation witnessed a spike at a large scale which is a better sign. Fewer sources most likely result in a shortage of liquidity.
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