ECI to hold meeting to finalise upcoming Assembly elections of 5 states tomorrow - The Daily Guardian
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ECI to hold meeting to finalise upcoming Assembly elections of 5 states tomorrow

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By Joymala Bagchi
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], February 23 (ANI): The Election Commission of India (ECI) is scheduled to hold a meeting tomorrow to finalise the upcoming Assembly elections of five states, official sources of the ECI confirmed.
On Friday, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain, who is also the in-charge, will be travelling to Kolkata to take note of the preparedness and updates. During his visit, Jain will hold a series of meetings with district magistrates and police superintendents.
The ECI is a statement had informed that 12 companies of the Central Police Forces (CPF) will be sent to West Bengal, as is routinely sent in advance to poll stations for area domination to all the States or Union Territories where Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections are to take place and not specifically to West Bengal.
On 12 companies of central force reaching the state of West Bengal ECI in a press release stated that the Central Police Forces (CPF) are routinely sent in advance to poll stations for area domination to all the States or Union Territories where Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections are to take place and not specifically to West Bengal.
The numbers of polling booths are likely to increase owing to the current pandemic situation.
The terms of the legislative assemblies of five poll-bound states — West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala, and Puducherry are 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 are set to be held this year as the current tenure ends on May 30. (ANI)

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New rules for OTT platforms focus on self-classification of content instead of censorship, says Javadekar

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): Referring to the new guidelines laid down by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry for the Over-the-top (OTT) platforms, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday said that the new rules focus on self-classification of content instead of any form of censorship.
Javadekar made these statements at an event held in the presence of representatives of various OTT platforms including Alt Balaji, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Jio, Zee5, Viacom18, Shemaroo and MXPlayer.
Addressing the representatives of the industry, the minister mentioned that the government has done several rounds of consultation with the OTT players in the past and stressed the need for self-regulation.
Javadekar further stated that he had received representations from cinema and TV industries that while there were regulations for them, none existed for the OTT industry. Thus, it was decided that the government would come out with a progressive institutional mechanism for OTT players and develop a level playing field with the idea of self-regulation. The minister also appreciated that many OTT platforms had welcomed the rules.
Informing the industry representatives about the provisions of the rules, the Union Minister said it merely requires them to disclose information and that there is no requirement of registration of any kind with the Ministry.
Javadekar also added that a form for this will be ready soon. Furthermore, OTT platforms are expected to develop an effective grievance redressal mechanism.
Dispelling certain rumours, Javadekar clarified that in the self-regulating body, no member will be appointed by the Government.
Speaking on the power of the government, under the rules, Javadekar informed that the government will create an Inter-Departmental Committee to look at complaints that remain unresolved at the self-regulatory level.
The industry representatives welcomed the rules and thanked the Minister for addressing most of their concerns, said the I&B Ministry in a statement released on Thursday. (ANI)
Javadekar in his closing remarks added that the Ministry is open to any clarification or queries from the industry. (ANI)

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Nandikanti Sridhar appointed as Medchal – Malkajgiri District Congress chief

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): Congress leader Nandikanti Sridhar has been appointed as the president of Medchal – Malkajgiri District Congress Committee in Telangana on Thursday.
“Congress President has approved the proposal of the appointment of Nandikanti Sridhar as the president of Medchal – Malkajgiri District Congress Committee in Telangana with immediate effect,” read an official release issued by All India Congress Committee (AICC). (ANI)

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Odisha govt signs deal with ArcelorMittal to set up steel complex at Kendrapara

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Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], March 4 (ANI): The Odisha government and ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India Limited signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for setting up an Integrated Steel Complex in Kendrapara District.
As per an official release, this project will entail an investment of more than Rs 50,000 crore.
The MoU was signed in the presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and L N Mittal, Chairman of the Mittal Group.
Speaking on the occasion, Patnaik said Kendrapara was the ‘Karmabhumi’ of his father Biju Patnaik and the latter loved the place and its people from the core of his heart.
“Kendrapara provides ideal prospects for an Integrated Steel Complex and the state government will provide all the required support and facilitation for the setting up of this mega project. Odisha has successfully emerged and the most attractive investment destination in the country today because of its forward-looking industrial policy, facilitation mechanism, and robust infrastructure growth,” said the Chief Minister.
Mittal said he was happy to partner with the Odisha government in setting up this integrated steel complex at Kendrapara, which is in addition to the other investments of ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel in Odisha including the 6 MTPA pelletization plant in Paradeep which will be expanded to 12 MTPA and the beneficiation complex in Keonjhar and slurry pipeline which are already operational.
He further mentioned that he was amazed at the speed of work by the Government of Odisha, which he said was the best he has experienced in his world-wide business experience.
He reiterated that ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel is committed to partner with the Odisha government in the industrial growth journey of the state. (ANI)

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Congress to move no-confidence motion against BJP-JJP govt in Haryana tomorrow

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Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], March 4 (ANI): Congress will give a no-confidence motion to the Speaker against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) government in Haryana on Friday, said former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday.
Addressing the press conference, the Congress leader said that his party also plans to bring many “Adjournment” and “Calling Attention” motions to draw the attention of the government to the multitude of problems faced by the people of the state.
A day before the budget session of the Legislative Assembly, Hooda said the people of the state face a multitude of problems and the Opposition will raise these effectively in the ensuing session.
“The Congress is going to bring no-confidence motion, Minimum Support Price (MSP) guarantee bill, many adjournments and calling attention motion against the government. We will seek answers on issues such as farmers’ neglect, rising unemployment, changes in domicile regulations, rising crime, paper leaks, liquor and registry scams,” he said.
Hooda said the Congress will give a no-confidence motion to the Speaker tomorrow and he would then decide when the House will discuss the motion and vote on it.
“The opposition demands that all issues related to public interest must be discussed during the session and all the MLAs should get full time to highlight these issues,” he said.
“The BJP-JJP coalition government, which has failed on every front, will have to respond to all the scams like liquor, registry, recruitment, paper leak, mining in the house. The Congress will expose how the government is constantly ignoring the farmer movement and persecuting the farmers. A private member bill will be brought to amend the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act to provide MSP rights to farmers,” the former Chief Minister added.
The Leader of Opposition said that the slogan of 75 per cent reservation in private jobs was the biggest fraud with the youth of Haryana because, in Section-5 of this law, the government has already given a bypass to the job seekers. “Section 5 provides that any industry can avoid giving reservation to local youth by pretending that special abilities and competencies are needed,” he said.
“Even before the enactment of this law, the coalition government had brought changes to the altering the Haryana domicile rules which would deny the rights of the youth of the state. According to the new rules, now a person from any state can easily get Haryana domicile. On the basis of this, people of other states can get not only reserved 75 per cent private jobs but also government jobs reserved for SC and BC category,” Hooda stated.
“If the government does not change the domicile rules, youth from SC and BC sections in the state will find it difficult to get jobs. Just as the general category from other states were preferred over youths from Haryana in SDO recruitment, young local residents from SC and BC category would face a similar fate after the change in domicile rules,” he added.
Taking a dig at the government, Hooda stated that the government is busy playing with the rights of every section of the society. “This government neither the farmer is getting a fair price for their crops, the youth are not getting employment, workers are not getting work and government employees are not getting respect from those in power,” he said.
Responding to the question of increasing debt on the state, the Leader of Opposition said the total debt on the Haryana from the day the state was formed to the day when then the BJP took office six years ago was Rs 60,000 crore.
“In the six years of the BJP government, this debt has increased to Rs 2.25 lakh crore. Despite this, the Chief Minister is not telling the public the exact figure of the debt on the state. They are misleading by adding the amount of ‘Uday’ to the state’s debt,” he added. (ANI)

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RailTel launches prepaid plans for Wi-Fi at more than 4000 railway stations

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): RailTel has launched prepaid plans for its Railwire Wi-Fi at 4000 plus railway stations across the country.
“RailTel has launched prepaid plans for its Railwire Wi-Fi at 4000 plus Railway stations across India. Going forward, a passenger can use 30 minutes free wi-fi per day at 1 mbps speed at these 4000 plus railway stations. For using the Wi-Fi facility at a higher speed of upto 34 mbps, the user needs to choose a plan with a higher speed by paying a nominal fee,” read a press statement by the Indian Railways on Thursday.
The plans have been designed to offer flexible choices to users as per their needs. A number of payment options like net banking, wallet, credit card can be used to purchase plans online.
With a vision of turning railway stations into a platform for digital inclusion, RailTel Corporation of India Limited (RailTel), a Mini Ratna (Category – I) Central Public Sector Enterprise, under the Ministry of Railways, has started providing high-speed Wi-Fi service at railway stations.
The Wi-Fi service is currently available at 5950 plus stations across the country and Wi-Fi at the station premises is accessible to anyone with a smartphone and an active connection (post verification through OTP sent via SMS).
During pre-COVID time, more than 2.9 crore people were using the service monthly. Once the situation normalizes and footfall at stations becomes regular, a revenue of Rs 10-15 crore annually is expected from the paid Wi-Fi.
Talking about the plan launch, Puneet Chawla, CMD RailTel said, “We did a detailed trial run of Prepaid WiFi at 20 Stations in Uttar Pradesh and based on the response and detailed testing, we launched this plan at 4000 plus more stations across India. We intend to launch the prepaid plans for all the stations with our RailWire Wi-Fi this financial year”. (ANI)

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Kerala Assembly polls: 4 Congress leaders resign from Wayanad citing negligence of leadership

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Wayanad (Kerala) [India], March 4 (ANI): Ahead of the assembly polls in Kerala, four Congress Party leaders have resigned from the Congress party within the last four days alleging negligence of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) leadership in the state.
Former KPCC Member KK Vishwanathan, KPCC Secretary M S Vishwanathan, District Congress Committee General Secretary P K Anil Kumar and Mahila Congress leader Sujaya Venugopal have resigned from the party, informed sources.
KK Vishwanathan alleged that the party is being led by only a ‘three men team’ in Wayanad. M S Vishwanathan said that he is resigning from the party as he believes that the Congress leadership in the Wayanad district has failed. P K Anil Kumar has joined Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD).
As of now, KPCC has appointed senior leaders including K Sudhakaran MP to settle the issue. K Sudhakaran will discuss with the leaders who have resigned.
Sources told ANI that many leaders are unhappy with the ongoing candidate selection discussions. The resignation of four leaders from Wayanad where Rahul Gandhi holds parliament constituency has put the Congress leadership in trouble.
The election for 140-member Kerala Assembly in 14 districts will be held in a single phase on April 6.
The tenure of the 14th Kerala legislative assembly will come to an end on June 1, 2021. A total of 2,67,88,268 electors will elect the candidates in Kerala for the 15th legislative assembly.
For Assembly poll 2021, the number of polling booths in Kerala has been extended from 21,498 to 40,771. The counting of votes will be held on May 2. (ANI)

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