Malappuram (Kerala) [India], February 22 (ANI): In a sharp attack on Central government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday termed that the government’s intent to privatise the Railways as a “threat” to millions of poor people who travel in trains.
“Railways are a fundamental part of our country. Railways do not belong to one person, they belong to the whole country. It allows millions of people to travel cheaply…I noticed in the last Budget that the government is intent on privatising this Indian asset,” Rahul Gandhi said while addressing a gathering in Malappuram.
“This is a threat to millions of poor people who travel using our Railways. It is also going to create a problem for millions of employees who work for the Railways,” the Congress MP added.
The Wayanad MP interacted with two children in Malappuram and said: “They are the country’s future. One wants to be a doctor, the other a Policewoman. She said she wants to be a Policewoman as she wants to protect the weak and poor. She did not say she wants to take what belongs to poor.”
Earlier in the day, the Congress leader said the three new farm laws passed by the Centre are “designed to destroy” the agriculture business.
Addressing an event in Wayanad, he said: “The entire world can see the difficulty faced by Indian farmers, but the government in Delhi is unable to understand the pain of the farmers. We have pop stars who are commenting on the situation of the farmers but the Indian government is not interested. They are not going to take back these three new laws unless they are forced and there is a reason for it.”
The reason is that these three new laws are designed to destroy the agricultural system in India and give the entire business to two or three of Narendra Modi’s friends,” he added. (ANI)
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Second biggest focus is on education after reforms in health, says PM Modi
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday stressed on the need to reform the education sector by including skill development, research and innovation for a ‘self-reliant India’.
“To build Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the youth of the country needs self-confidence which is directly connected to their education, knowledge and skill. The new National Education Policy has been developed with this key thought,” he said while addressing a webinar on the implementation of Union Budget 2021 in the education sector.
“The second biggest focus after health in this year’s Budget is on education, skill, research and innovation,” PM Modi said.
Elaborating on the steps being taken by the Central Government during this year’s Budget for the education sector, he said, “For building an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, it is important that the youth have self-confidence. Self-confidence comes when youth has faith in their education, skills and knowledge.”
Prime Minister also underlined the need to use the talents of anyone across India and said, “it is very important to come out of the linguistic barrier to make it possible.”
The Prime Minister had discussed the impact of educational policies, research activities and skill development efforts undertaken by the government and educational institutions on the centre’s scheme named ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’. (ANI)
Government notifies amendments to Insurance Ombudsman Rules 2017
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): The Central Government on Tuesday notified comprehensive amendments to the Insurance Ombudsman Rules 2017, with a view to improving the working of the Insurance Ombudsman mechanism to facilitate the resolution of complaints regarding deficiencies in insurance services in a timely, cost-effective and impartial manner.
“The amended rules have enlarged the scope of complaints to Ombudsmen from only disputes earlier to deficiencies in service on the part of insurers, agents, brokers and other intermediaries. Further, insurance brokers have been brought within the ambit of the Ombudsman mechanism, by empowering the Ombudsmen to pass awards against insurance brokers as well,” the Union Ministry of Finance said in a press statement on Wednesday.
“Under the amended rules, the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of the mechanism have been substantially strengthened. Policyholders will now be enabled for making complaints electronically to the Ombudsman and a complaints management system will be created to enable policyholders to track the status of their complaints online. Further, the Ombudsman may use video-conferencing for hearings,” it stated.
“To enable access to relief through the Ombudsman mechanism even when there is a vacancy in the office of a particular Ombudsman, provision has been made for giving additional charge to another Ombudsman, pending the filling of the vacancy,” added the statement.
It further said that a number of amendments have been made for securing the independence and integrity of the Ombudsman selection process, while also building safeguards to secure the independence and impartiality of the appointed persons while serving as Ombudsmen. Further, the selection committee will now include an individual with a track record of promoting consumer rights or advancing the cause of consumer protection in the insurance sector.
The Ombudsman mechanism was administered by the Executive Council of Insurers, which has been renamed as the Council for Insurance Ombudsmen. (ANI)
Dilip Ghosh dismisses speculation of Sourav Ganguly joining BJP
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 3 (ANI): Ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Dilip Ghosh on Tuesday dismissed speculations of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly joining the party, saying he had no idea about it and it had not been discussed.
“I have no idea about it, nor has there been any discussion in the meeting,” Ghosh told reporters when asked.
This comes amid media reports that Ganguly is likely to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on March 7.
The state party chief also said the core committee of the party will soon declare names of the candidates for the first and second phase of elections in West Bengal.
“Core committee has discussed candidates for the first and second phase of the election here in West Bengal. It will soon declare the names,” he said, adding that they also reviewed the upcoming election rallies in the state.
West Bengal Assembly elections will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
West Bengal is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with TMC, Congress-Left alliance and the BJP in the fray. (ANI)
Unemployment is high, informal sector in shambles due to demonetisation : Former PM Manmohan Singh
Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 3 (ANI): Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attacked Central Government over the rising unemployment and the prevailing crisis in the informal sector following the “ill-conceived demonetisation decision”
“Temporary measures by the Government of India and Reserve Bank to paper over the credit problems can not blind us to the looming credit crisis ahead that could affect the small and medium sector. Unemployment is high and the informal sector is in shambles – A crisis precipitated by the ill-considered demonetisation decision taken in 2016,” he said.
While speaking at ‘Pratheeksha 2030’ organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development in Thiruvanathapuram, the former Prime Minister further attributed the low employment and informal sector crisis to the ‘ill-considered demonetisation.
Criticising the Union Government for not holding regular consultations with the states, Former PM Manmohan Singh further said that public finances in Kerala and other states were in disarray and many had to resort to excessive borrowing, creating an intolerable burden on future budgets.
“Federalism and regular consultation with states, which was the cornerstone of India’s economic and political philosophy, no longer finds favour with the present Central Government. In the midst of all the gloom, I see the United Democratic Front’s (UDF) steadfast adherence to planned growth with a clear sense of direction and concern of the common man a beacon of hope, not only for Kerala but for the entire country,” he added.
He further lauded the efforts of the state’s Congress leaders for planning a framework for the UDF government when they are voted to power and hoped that the main idea is focussed on the welfare of the common man.
“I am glad to see that UDF manifesto draft presented to the people for public response contains such radical ideas as NYAY – a scheme outlined in the Congress’ national manifesto in 2019 which will provide direct benefit transfer to the poorest people,” he added. (ANI)
Students, teachers of J-K’s Poonch relieved by India-Pak ceasefire agreement
Poonch (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 3 (ANI): Students and teachers of the Faqirdara school in Jammu and Kashmir’s border district of Poonch no longer have to live in constant fear for their lives thanks to the recent cease-fire agreement between India and Pakistan.
A teacher of the Faqirdara school, Mandeep Kaur, told ANI that the school’s infrastructure had been damaged by bullets.
“Whenever firings used to happen, the school was always affected. The walls have a lot of bullet marks and we have had to get a lot of repair work done. As soon as the firing started, students would get very tense and scared,” Kaur said.
“As soon as we found out that India and Pakistan have agreed to a ceasefire, we were very happy. The students also feel relaxed now,” she added.
According to Muhammed Rafiq, a resident of the village, many students were hesitant to go to school as the area often witnessed firing from both sides of the border.
“There used to be a lot of firing from both sides and we always felt like we were in danger. But the last few days have been peaceful and school children also feel safe now. Many could not go to school because they were afraid. But the government’s decision has brought peace,” he said.
Students have also expressed relief that they can now study in peace.
“We have witnessed many firings at school. It has stopped now and we can study in peace. We are happy,” said Muhammed Azad, a student.
“We are glad that the firing has stopped. We used to feel very scared. I am grateful,” said Nazma, another student.
Earlier last week, after discussions between the Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan, the two sides have to cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors with effect from midnight of February 24 to 25.
The discussion between the two armies took place at a time when a large number of ceasefire violations were taking place along the LoC and violence levels were going up especially for the villagers living along the LoC on both sides.
“Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from midnight of February 24 to 25,” a joint statement issued by the Defence Ministry said. (ANI)
Goa CM takes first jab of COVID-19 vaccine
Sanquelim (Goa) [India], March 3 (ANI): Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday took the first jab of COVID-19 vaccine at a Primary Health Center (PHC) in Sanquelim.
He further appealed to all eligible people to come forward and get themselves vaccinated.
“Received the first dose for #COVID19 vaccine today at PHC Sankhali. I once again appeal to all those eligible to come forward and get vaccinated. Let us together eradicate #COVID19 from Goa,” Goa CM tweeted.
India on March 1 commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi.
Several Union Ministers, including Amit Shah, S Jaishankar, Jitendra Singh, Dr Harsh Vardhan have also received their first COVID-19 vaccine jabs.
As per the Health Ministry, a total of 1,56,20,749 people in the country have been vaccinated against COVID-19 till now. (ANI)
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