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PM announces Rs 1,000 crore package for Bengal and Rs 500 crore for Odisha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes an aerial survey of the two cyclone-ravaged states with Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik by his side.

Brijesh Pandey and Tapas Sengupta

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After Super Cyclone Amphan’s destruction across West Bengal and Odisha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did an aerial survey of the most ravaged areas of the two states along with the respective chief ministers. The PM was accompanied by ministers belonging to the states namely, Dharmendra Pradhan, Babul Supriyo, Pratap Chandra Sarangi and Debasree Chaudhuri.

The Prime Minister first went to West Bengal, which has faced the maximum brunt of Cyclone Amphan, where more than 77 people lost their lives and property worth several thousand crores was damaged. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee demanded the destruction should be treated as a national disaster. After that PM Modi and CM Mamata Banerjee conducted an aerial survey of areas affected by Cyclone Amphan in West Bengal.

After the aerial survey, PM Modi conducted a review meeting in Basirhat with Banerjee, Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and senior state officials. Ministers Babul Supriyo and Debasree Chaudhuri were also present in the meeting. The PM reviewed the relief and rehabilitation measures taken by the administration. PM Modi announced a financial assistance of Rs 1000 crore for immediate relief. He stated that after receiving the memorandum of assistance from the state, Union government will deploy an inter-ministerial team to visit the state to assess the extent of damage in the state based on which further assistance will be given.

PM also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the family of those who died in the cyclone and Rs 50,000 to the family of those who were seriously injured. Mamata Banerjee said West Bengal has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore. “In this hour of crisis, we all must work together. I have told PM Modi in detail about post-cyclone situation in Bengal,” she said. Though Union Minister Babul Supriyo said this was a meeting of two able administrators and there was no room for politics, the tone of the Bengal CM suggested otherwise.

Post her meeting, Mamata Banerjee said, “PM announced Rs 1000 crore for the emergency fund but he didn’t clarify whether it’ll be an advance or a package. He said he’ll decide later on but he said it may be advance also. I said whatever you will give you decide, we’ll give you details. There is already Rs 53,000 crore pending with the Centre.” Asked if she was satisfied with the PM visit, Mamata Banerjee said, “At this hour of crisis, we feel that we must work together.

There are so many areas where they can help us. State government also exists in this country and Central government also exists. If there is a crisis everybody must work together.” After his West Bengal visit, PM Modi went to Odisha where he was received by CM Naveen Patnaik and Governor Ganeshi Lal. PM Modi and the CM conducted the aerial survey of cycloneaffected districts.

After that, the PM returned to Bhubaneswar where he held a review meeting with the Odisha CM and officials. Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi were also present. PM Modi announced a financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to Odisha and Rs 2 lakh to the family of those who died in the cyclone and Rs 50,000 to those who were seriously injured. PM Modi tweeted and congratulated the people of Odisha. The tweet said that everyone is fighting Covid-19 and in such a time we had a super cyclone in some parts of India.

At the same time, due to the well-established processes in Odisha many lives were saved. I congratulate the people and the government of Odisha. After the announcement of Rs 500 crore package, the PM added that the government will further help state government and make rest of the arrangements to come out of the crisis after a complete survey and formation of a rehabilitation plan. Super Cyclone Amphan caused major devastation in Odisha which saw power and telecom infrastrcuture damaged in several coastal districts.

As per official estimate of Odisha government, the cyclone has affected around 44.8 lakh people in the state. PM Modi’s visit to these two states has taken place after 83 days as he has had to remain in Delhi because of the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

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Prime Minister Modi pays tribute to Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa on his birth anniversary

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to late Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, on his birth anniversary while addressing the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Rally at Cariappa Ground in Delhi on Thursday.
“We are holding this event of Annual NCC rally at the ground named after Field Marshal KM Cariappa. In 1947, his wit and intelligence helped in gaining a decisive edge in the war. Today is his birth anniversary. I pay tribute to him on the behalf of all the citizens,” said Prime Minister Modi.
He also pointed out that there are immense opportunities for the girls in NCC cadets. “There has been an increase in 35 per cent of girls cadet in NCC in past few years. The nation needs your bravery and new opportunities are waiting for you. I see future officers in you all,” he added.
Talking about the revamped gallantry award portal launched on January 25, PM Modi said, “The portal contains the information about lives of gallantry medal awardees. I appeal to all the NCC cadets to visit the portal and keep engaged with it.”
The Prime Minister appreciated the cadets for their discipline and dedication towards fulfilling their duties. He also informed that around one lakh National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets are being trained by the Army, Navy and Air Force to serve in coastal and border areas of 175 districts.
“On August 15, last year, it was announced that NCC will be given new responsibilities in around 175 districts in the coastal and border areas. For this, around 1 lakh NCC cadets are being trained by Army, Navy and Air Force. Out of these, one third are girl cadets,” PM Modi said.
Hailing NCC cadets for helping the government amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he said: “Be it the floods or any other calamity, NCC cadets helped the people of this country last year. During the corona pandemic, lakhs of cadets worked with the administration and society across the country. Their work is commendable.”
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three armed services chiefs were also present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister wore an NCC cap, reviewed March Past by NCC contingents and witnessed cultural performance during the event. (ANI)

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Mumbai Police rescues minor girl from trafficking, 3 arrested

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], January 28 (ANI): The Social Service Branch of Mumbai Police on Thursday arrested three people after they were allegedly planning to sell a minor girl for money.
In a statement, the Mumbai Police said, “The Social Service Branch of Mumbai Police arrested three people yesterday in a raid and rescued a 14-year-old girl. Preliminary investigation revealed that the perpetrators had fixed for the girl to be sold at Rs 3 lakhs.”
According to the information received from the police, the accused are allegedly casting directors namely Ashish Patel, Mohammad Sheikh and Vinod Aneria.
The girl was offered a role in a TV serial after which she had accepted, said police.
“Offenders are now booked under Sections 370, 366(A) and 34 of Indian Penal Code (IPC),” the statement added. (ANI)

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SC dismisses plea of BJP leader challenging Karnataka HC order disqualifying him from being appointed as minister

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea of BJP Member of Legislative Council (MLC), AH Vishwanath challenging Karnataka High Court order on disqualifying him from being appointed as a minister.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde dismissed the plea of Vishwanath.
Former Karnataka minister and BJP MLC Vishwanath, whose chances of becoming a minister were dashed after the Karnataka High Court held that his disqualification as MLA subsists as he is a nominated MLC and not an elected one, approached the top court against the order.
The Karnataka High Court in November 2020 had held that prima facie Vishwanath has incurred disqualification under Article 164 (1) (b) and Article 361 (B) of the Constitution of India and remains disqualified till the expiry of the term of the Legislative Council that is till May 2021, and therefore, cannot be inducted into the Council of Ministers.
Vishwanath was among the 17 MLAs who switched parties to join the BJP and overthrow the Congress-JD (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka in 2019. All 17 MLAs were disqualified by the Speaker.
Vishwanath had lost in the by-elections in his Assembly constituency after his disqualification.
After he lost the by-polls, BJP nominated him to the legislative council in order to induct him as a minister in the government. (ANI)

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Locals raise slogans to vacate Singhu border amid farmers’ agitation

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): A group of people claiming to be locals of the Singhu border gathered here on Thursday and raised slogans, demanding the area to be vacated.
People were raising slogans including ‘Will not tolerate tricolour’s insult’ and ‘Vacate the Singhu border’.
Farmers have been camping at the border site for almost two months as part of their protest against Centre’s contentious farm laws.
Meanwhile, security has been heightened at the Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) after the violence broke out during a tractor rally in various parts of the national capital on Republic Day.
Protesting farmers did not follow the marked route for their tractor march on Republic Day and forcibly entered central Delhi by removing police barricades. They clashed with the police and also entered the Red Fort and unfurled their flags from its ramparts.
Several public and private properties were damaged in acts of vandalism by the protestors, while one farmer died after his tractor overturned at ITO.
At least 19 people have so far been arrested and over 25 criminal cases registered by Delhi Police in connection with the violence.
394 police personnel sustained injuries in the violence and several of them are still admitted to hospitals. Some of them are admitted to ICU wards, informed Police Commissioner (CP) SN Shrivastava on Wednesday.
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)

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India’s economic recovery post COVID is strong; Union Budget will be game-changer: BJP

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New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): Asserting that the economic recovery of India post-COVID is strong and widespread across all segments, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said that Union Budget 2021 will be a game-changer with a focus on areas that have not received full support.
This comes a day ahead of the Budget Session of the Parliament. The Union Budget will be presented on February 1.
Addressing a press conference here at the party headquarters, BJP spokesperson Gopal Krishna Agarwal said that the Modi government has been walking on the path of strong reforms.
“PM Modi does not believe in maintaining the status quo and he has decided to bring in transformative changes. Since 2014 he has started schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana and PM Kalyan Yojana for the benefit of the citizens of the country. Good economics is good politics – is the motto of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
“Budget 2021 will be a game-changer and will focus on areas that have not received full support. We are going to identify such areas that need further support. We are working towards a resurgent India and Atmanirbhar Bharat,” he added.
Agarwal presented data provided by various financial agencies and said that several reports indicate that the economic recovery of India post-COVID is strong and widespread across all segments
“RBI in its report has written that ‘After a winter of discontent, we are moving towards a glorious summer.’ The IMF’s report that shows India’s growth rate at 11.5 per cent is also a strong indicator. The report also suggests that India will continue to hold its tag of the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The PMI data for 3 consecutive months has shown expansion in manufacturing. IIP figures on eight core sectors show healthy growth. Labour force participation, too, in the post-COVID era, has seen 85 per cent recovery in mobility,” he said.
“The GST collections have crossed Rs 1 lakh crore in the last 3 months. Credit growth has increased by over 7 per cent. Govt expenditure has crossed 248 per cent. The central government has continued spending hugely on infrastructure, social security, and welfare. Agriculture has shown a growth of 3.4 per cent,” he added. (ANI)

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No risk would be taken to turn Haridwar into Wuhan: Uttarakhand CM

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Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], January 28 (ANI): The Uttarakhand government will not take any risk during the COVID-19 pandemic that will turn Haridwar into Wuhan, said Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, ahead of the grand Kumbh Mela.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India has released a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) regarding the Kumbh Mela.
According to the SOPs, the authorities concerned have been asked to discourage children below the age of 10, people above the age of 65, pregnant women, and people suffering from chronic diseases from participating in the Mela. The state government will coordinate with other states in this regard.
The central government has asked devotees to maintain a social distance of at least six feet to combat COVID-19. It has also directed the authorities to impose heavy penalties on people not adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
The officials present at the parking facilities at the gathering site will provide face masks to visitors at prescribed government rates.

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