I roar if someone threatens me: Mamata slams BJP - The Daily Guardian
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I roar if someone threatens me: Mamata slams BJP

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], February 11 (ANI): Slamming the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said, she does not fear any threat and she roars if someone tries to threaten her.
Addressing social workers at an event, Banerjee said, “If you are with me, I will stop all threats. I do not fear any threat. Who try to threaten me, I roar at them. Say goodbye to BJP. Stop them entering Bengal.”
On Wednesday, Mamata said that bringing BJP to power in the state means “encouraging riots”.
“Bringing BJP to power means encouraging riots. If you want riots then cast your vote for BJP. You cannot defeat Mamata as she isn’t alone, she has the support of the people. Till the time I am alive, I will not allow BJP here,” said Banerjee while addressing a rally at Malda.
Elections for 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal are slated to take place this year. (ANI)

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Karnataka taxi, auto drivers’ bodies demand increase in fare amid spiralling fuel prices

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Bengaluru (Karnataka), March 2 (ANI): Taxi and autorickshaw unions in Karnataka have demanded an increase in fare, citing the spiralling fuel prices.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP), Special Commissioner J Manjunath on Monday said, “Taxi and autorickshaw drivers’ associations gave a proposal requesting an increase in fare.”
The official committee meeting has been called after 3 weeks to look into the matter, he added.
On February 25, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that she won’t be able to answer when the prices of petrol and diesel will be reduced.
“I won’t be able to say ‘when’. It is a ‘dharam sankat’ (dilemma),” she said at an event in Ahmedabad after being asked when would the Central Government reduce fuel prices, which have increased sharply in the past few days in the country.
Over a period of time, the prices of petrol and diesel have increased sharply.
Opposition parties have held protests in different parts of the country over fuel price rise. (ANI)

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G Kishan Reddy takes his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Hyderabad’s Gandhi Hospital

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], March 2 (ANI): Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy on Tuesday took his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad.
Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi and appealed to all those who are eligible to get inoculated.
Many prominent leaders including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Nationalist Congress Party Chief, Sharad Pawar were administered the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine on Monday.
India commenced its third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1.
The eligible beneficiaries who are entitled to receive the Covid-19 vaccine from March 1, were able to register themselves on the Co-WIN platform from Monday onwards.
The Central government has created the Co-WIN application dedicated to monitor real-time management of Covid-19 vaccination across the country.
The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 1.47 crore on Monday, according to a statement by the Union Health Ministry.
15,510 new COVID-19 cases and 106 deaths were reported in India in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry informed on Monday.
With this, the total number of cases reported in the country now stands at 1,10,96,731, including 1,68,627 active cases and 1,07,86,457 recoveries. The death toll now stands at 1,57,157. (ANI)

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‘ANGANA MOREY’ HITTING NO. 2 ON BILLBOARD GLOBAL CHART A PLEASANT SURPRISE: SHREYA GHOSHAL

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Singer Shreya Ghoshal recently got candid with NewsX in an exclusive interview as a part of its special series NewsX India A-List, wherein she spoke about her latest song release Angana Morey, her musical journey and more. Angana Morey is garnering a phenomenal response in India and around the world.

Not only the song is being loved by the listeners but is also smashing records of singers like Selena Gomez and has made it to number 2 on Billboard’s Top Triller Global chart. Angana Morey is even more special to Shreya as it is in collaboration with her brother Soumyadeep Ghoshal.

Expressing her gratitude to all the love and appreciation coming her way for Angana Morey, Shreya said, “While making this song, we did not have any such expectations. It’s a pleasant surprise and a great feeling. The fans are rejoicing. Somewhere they always hoped that Shreya or as they call me Shreya Di will make it to the Billboard one day. It’s a sweet gesture, I am elated and hope it’s the start.”

Sharing insights from the making of Angana Morey, she expressed, “Angana Morey was born in the lockdown so it was an interesting experience. Soumyadeep is a fabulous musician. This was our second project together. Over the phone and on video calls, we only talk about music and the possibilities of doing so many different things. He pushed me into it and said that don’t worry about what the trends are or what are people doing off late, you should do whatever you want. That is how Angana Morey was born. This is a very different song from my kitty and that’s why I went Indie. When you are doing independent music, you have no pressure of following any rules. So I broke all of them and did a slightly classical-based number with very modern, electronic and transient, groovy elements in it.” 

Shreya spoke about her first song and how that proved to be a game-changer for her, “The first song that I did would always be the most momentous experience and time of my life. Bairi Piya from Devdas changed my life. I was around 16-years-old. Being called for a song like that by Sanjay Leela Bhansali for a film of that stature was unexpected. It was amazing and since then there has been no looking back. There have been many more such songs, milestones, concerts, world tours, and experiences that have added many more layers to my life and how my journey has moved from here to there but it’s too hard to count them now. I am blessed but I will always look back at my first song, my first film as the most sentimental, the most emotional and important milestone of my life.” On a concluding note, she crooned Ghar More Pardesiya from Kalank.

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Why mental health and psychological fitness is so important in sports

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In a special series on NewsX presented by CatFit, titled ‘Importance Of Mental, Emotional And Psychological Fitness In Sports’, two leading young sportsperson, international cricketer Arundhati Reddy and international badminton player Srishti Jupudi, shared their journeys as sportspersons in India and how mental health plays a major role in them delivering their best performance.

Addressing the importance of mental health and training in sports, Arundhati spoke about how she entered the world of sports at a very fragile age. At the time when she was playing domestic cricket there were certain days when she wasn’t able to perform. She said how she barely knew the importance of mental well-being or a certain frame of mind a sportsperson has to be in to enhance their skill and perform better on the ground. “Especially at such a top level, when you know that you are under scrutiny all the time, it comes to be a huge responsibility. The pressure to perform well is always there and it is very important to be mentally strong and tough,” she said.

Adding to Arundhati’s remarks, Srishti, who embarked on her sports journey in her teenage years, talked about her psychological and mental training. She stated how at the top level, when you are an international and professional sportsperson, it becomes more of an act of psychological warfare. She explained the ‘20:80 formula’ that functions in international sports, which denotes that 20% constitutes one’s skill set and physical training, whereas the larger part, i.e., 80% constitutes mental toughness and the psychological mindset of the player.

”Playing at the top level and surviving in a highly competitive environment has made me realise how strong-headed one has to be. I started following my mentor and coach’s advice for my mental well being and started to observe the changes which occurred in a linear manner, and eventually, I made it my routine,” Srishti added.

She also spoke about her mantras which have helped her keep moving forward and given her strength and resilience. Srishti underlined that one must constantly visualise their goals and work on their growth and progress.

Arundhati also talked about her training regime and how a lot of effort has to be put into hardcore strength and physical training. “We, the Indian team, put a lot of effort in preparing well for tournaments. For me, it’s more about the visualisation of my goals. It was during the lockdown when I started paying attention to my mental health and realised that I had not taken a break in decades. During the lockdown, I had a lot of time and began to do meditation regularly, and it has helped me a lot,” she shared.

Catfit as an organisation has been playing a significant role in improving the overall mental as well as physical well being of sportspersons. Talking about the initiative, Mr Arpan Dixit, Global Head of Catfit, said, “We started back in 2017 when we realised that there is a lack of mental health awareness and a need for mental and psychological trainers for people in sports. Catfit arranged a team of trained psychologists, mental health trainees, nutritionists and physical fitness trainers and began a regime of the military application and special forces tactics for sports.” Explaining this further, he underlined how within this special regime, sportspersons are first given a psychological questionnaire where the team analyses the level of resilience each person has, identifies issues and concerns arising out of the analysis, make a plan for their training and assign them a psychological and mental toughness trainer who is from the special forces or part of the ‘Black Cat’ commandos.

Arundhati then spoke about careers in sports and how parents often hesitate to send their children to the field. She spoke of how her mother has been an inspiration and given her constant support. ”Being a sportsperson herself, my mother has taught me a lot and always motivated me to pursue my dreams and I think every parent should just let their child do what he/she dreams of,” she said.

Wrapping up the conversation, Srishti said that India holds a lot of scope in terms of sports and many government policies and incentives now exist which help even those coming from poor financial backgrounds and other rungs of the social hierarchy. “Even if I have quit playing badminton, I think that my active engagement in sports shall help me forward on the leadership path that I want to embark upon. There are many incentives like Khelo India, different types of quotas are available for sportspersons and there are other avenues one can choose from,” she added.

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HOW THE NEW LABOUR CODES CREATE A WIN-WIN SITUATION

The recently passed labour codes have been restructured to benefit the two major stakeholders in industrial relations: The employer and the labour.

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In keeping with the underlying essence of the mantra “Shramev Jayate”, the government, devoted to the welfare of labour, has undertaken an arduous and long journey to roll out the much-needed labour law reforms. A journey that started several decades ago reached its climax in 2020, the year that saw the passing of the path-breaking labour codes by the Parliament. This is indeed a turning point in the economic history of India which has authenticated the positions of all stakeholders who have been determined in this journey.

The four new labour codes viz. the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, the Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2020, the Social Security Code, 2020 and the Wages Code, 2020 envisage to cover over 50 crore workers from the organized, unorganized and self-employed sectors. The erstwhile 29 labour laws have now been subsumed in the simplified, easy to understand and transparent new labour codes, keeping the interest of the labour class at the forefront. The codes are a part of the government’s earnest desire to bring in much needed labour welfare reforms in the country, a task which was not been done for the last seven decades.

The revamped labour laws, in the form of the four labour codes, are essentially both pro-labour and pro-employer – making it a win-win situation for both the stakeholders. The broad benefits that emanate from the re-classification of the labour laws into the four labour codes are far too many and deserve to be transcribed. For the employers, these labour codes enormously decrease the difficulty in compliance due to a wide array of labour laws. That’s not all – they will also facilitate the ease of doing business. For perspective, India’s present ranking on the World Bank’s EODB Index is 63, and it aspires to grab a spot among the top 50 countries in the world.

The biggest positive externality that emerges from these big-bang labour reforms is the fillip that they will impart to employment generation. This will happen without distorting the fundamental features of securing employee rights, safety, security and health of workers, and the standardization of operating definitions under the different labour laws. The key mantras behind these labour reforms are essentially two-fold: simplification and rationalization. For example, the provision of a single license/single registration and single return will aid in saving precious time and monetary resources. Moreover, the cost of compliance will significantly come down as there will be a single, decentralised authority for execution.

The benefits that accrue for employees and workers are also multifarious. For instance, under the Social Security Code, 2020 a provision has been made to formulate various schemes for providing comprehensive social security to workers in the unorganised sector. The creation of a “Social Security Fund” on the financial side in order to implement these schemes is a step in the right direction. Besides, the Social Security Code envisages bringing within the ambit of social security work related to newer forms of employment like platform workers or gig workers, which have been created due to fast-evolving technology. India is one of the very few countries where this unprecedented and bold step of including workers of this category under social security has been taken.

It is also for the first time that a fixed term employee working for a determined period on a contract basis has been given the right of social security just like a regular employee. With the intention of making a nationwide database for the unorganised sector workers, registration of all these workers would be done through an online portal on the basis of self-certification through a hassle-free and easy-to-understand procedure. It would facilitate the extension of the benefits of various social security schemes to beneficiaries in the unorganised sector.

The most important factor for getting a job is to get access to information regarding job vacancies. With this objective in mind, it has been made compulsory for all establishments with 20 or more workers to periodically report the vacancy position in their respective establishments. This information would also be made available online.

Under the Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2020 there is a provision for a free health check-up once a year by the employer for workers who are above a certain age. Besides, getting an appointment letter from the employer has been made a legal right for the first time.

It is an open secret that, until now, it took years for worker disputes to be resolved. The Industrial Relations Code, 2020 visualizes sincere efforts for resolving such disputes, not just effectively but also in a transparent and time-bound manner. A provision for two members instead of just one member in the Industrial Tribunal has been made. Therefore, in case of the absence of one member, work can still be undertaken without unwarranted delays. In case the disputes are not getting resolved at the conciliation stage, provisions have been kept for escalating disputes straight to the Tribunal. With the overall objective of ensuring the democratic participation of trade unions, a provision for a “Negotiating Union” and a “Negotiating Council” has been made for undertaking negotiations on any dispute.

It is worth mentioning that a provision for a re-skilling fund has also been made in the statute for the first time. Its target would be to re-skill those workers who have been removed from their jobs, so that they are well-qualified with appropriate skill sets to match the kind of jobs in the market easily. For this, workers would also be given 15 days’ salary within a period of 45 days.

These changes and reforms in labour laws have been conceptualised keeping in mind the fast-changing scenario over the years. It is imagined to make them futuristic so that India marches on a faster growth trajectory and eventually becomes the world’s favourite investment destination. With these labour codes, peaceful and harmonious industrial relations will be promoted across the country, which in turn will propel the engine of growth of industry, employment and income, and ensure balanced regional development. Besides, it will also put more disposable income in the hands of our workers. These path-breaking labour reforms in the form of the four labour codes will help our country attract foreign direct investment and also induce domestic investment from entrepreneurs. Most importantly, these futuristic labour codes will aid in ending the vicious cycle of Inspector Raj in the country and bring much-needed transparency in the system. Indeed, a win-win situation.

The writers are Indian Economic Service officers. The views expressed are personal.

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COVID-19: Devotees offer prayers outside Siddhivinayak Temple on Ganesh Angarki Chaturthi

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 2 (ANI): On the occasion of Ganesh Angarki Chaturthi, devotees offered prayers outside Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple in Mumbai on Tuesday.
The Temple Trust has announced that offline darshan will not be permitted today and only those devotees with pre-issued QR codes will be allowed entry inside the temple.
Last year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Siddhivinayak Temple was closed for devotees, it opened its doors for devotees after eight months in November 2020.
After a spike of cases in the city, the Maharashtra government has warned of another lockdown if people do not adhere to the rules and guidelines laid down by the authorities.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra has reported 6,397 new COVID-19 cases, 5,754 recoveries and 30 deaths in the last 24-hours, the State Health Department informed on Monday.
A total of 52,184 people have died due to COVID-19 in the state so far. As many as 20,30,458 people have recovered from the disease.
Furthermore, Maharashtra alone accounts for 46.39 per cent of India’s total active cases, followed by Kerala with 29.49 per cent. (ANI)

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