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SC to hear Kerala govt’s plea against lease of Thiruvananthapuram airport on Mar 8

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New Delhi [India], February 15 (ANI): Supreme Court will hear the Kerala government’s appeal against the Airport Authority of India’s (AAI) decision to lease out Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to Adani Enterprises Limited on March 8.
A three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said, “we will hear the matter on March 8.”
Kerala government had moved the Apex Court and filed an appeal against the AAI’s decision to lease out Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, in the state to Adani Enterprises Ltd.
Earlier, the Kerala High Court dismissed the state government’s petition challenging the Union government’s decision to lease out the right of operation, management, and development of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises Ltd.
A Division Bench comprising Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice CS Dias issued the order observing that it is a policy decision of the Union government and cannot be interfered with.
Kerala government submitted that many clauses in the Request for Proposal (RFP) were tailor-made to suit private players. However, the court rejected this contention.
According to the State, ”the Assembly had on August 24 unanimously resolved to request the Union government to avoid handing over the operation and management of the Thiruvananthapuram airport to private players and instead consider a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed by the state government.”
The Centre had contended that the tender procedure was carried out in a transparent manner and special advantage was given to KSIDC considering the Kerala government’s request.
The Centre had no other option but to proceed with awarding the lease agreement to Adani Enterprises, the highest bidder, as the State government entity, KSIDC did not fall within parameters of the RFP.
The government added that the decision to go for the PPP mode of operation, management and development of airports was taken purely on public interest. It was also a policy decision of the Union government.
According to the Centre, the award of the lease to the KSIDC by allowing it to match the bid amount of the highest bidder after the completion of bidding process would have amounted to a violation of the entire bidding process.
The Centre said that it had approved the grant of lease/concession of the airport to the highest bidder for 50 years subject to the security clearance from the National Security Agency. In fact, the decision taken by the Centre was in the interest of the airport.
Adani enterprises argued that the property acquired and transferred to AAI completely vests with the Authority and therefore neither the State Government nor KSIDC has any locus standi to lay any claim on the basis of the transfer of such property.
Answering the wrong contentions taken by some of the petitioners that participation of qualified bidders in the tender process was less, Adani Enterprises pointed out that 25 bidders had registered and 10 bidders submitted 32 bids for various airports. (ANI)

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Maharashtra proposes zero pc interest on farm loans up to Rs 3 lakh

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 8 (ANI): Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Monday presented the state budget for 2021-22 in the state assembly and said the government has decided to provide zero per cent interest loans to farmers who take crop loans up to a limit of Rs 3 lakh and make timely repayment.
Pawar said the amount of interest on crop loan will be paid by the government on behalf of farmers. The required funds will be provided by the government, he said.
“Keeping in view the objective to free the farmers from interest burden and prevent them from turning defaulters, the government has decided to provide zero per cent interest loans to farmers who take crop loans up to a limit of Rs 3 lakh and make timely repayment,” he said.
Pawar said that the government has also planned to invest Rs 2,000 crore to strengthen the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC).
An outlay of Rs 7,350 crore has been proposed for the Rural Development Department.
Maharashtra assembly budget session started on March 1 and will be last till March 10. The session was curtailed due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. (ANI)

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President Ram Nath Kovind presents Baton of Honor to Kiran Bedi

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday presented a baton of honour and a letter of appreciation to former Puducherry lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Kiran Bedi received a Baton of Honor decorated with the emblem of the Indian Republic and a letter of appreciation from President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The former Puducherry lieutenant governor received a Baton of Honor decorated with the emblem of the Indian Republic and the appreciation letter recognizing her service in the Union Territory of Puducherry.
Kiran Bedi was removed as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry on February 16 by the President of India and Tamilisai Soundararajan took additional charge as the Lieutenant Governor on February 18. (ANI)

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Women have extra qualities of compassion, consistency and courage compared to males: Javadekar on Int’l Women’s Day

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Information and Broadcasting, and Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, on Monday stated that women have extra qualities of compassion, consistency and courage compared to males, adding that they are hard-working and diligent in their work.
“God didn’t discriminate while creating female and male. My experience is that women have extra qualities of compassion, consistency and courage compared to us males. They are hard working and diligent in their work,” said the Union Minister in his address at the launch of the e-book “The Green Queens of India – Nation’s Pride” on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
He further expressed happiness over the fact that women forest officers in our country are now being recognised.
“Present in this event are women forest officers from across the country. I am glad that women forest officers are being recognised. 280 IFS and more than 5,000 women frontline staff– I welcome them all. God didn’t discriminate while creating female and male,” said Javadekar here today.
He further said, “An oil container ship was driven by females and this is the first example in the world. Women were restricted from getting education and exposure. And we are now seeing in board exams female students perform better because of their consistency.”
The union minister gave further examples of women’s strength and stated that women are present in all fields.
“In Gir, to tranquilise lions, women frontline workers do that. In history, we have examples of Rani Ahilyabai Holkar, Chennamma and Jhansi ki Rani who fought wars. This is women’s strength. Today women are present in all fields.”
The Minister also announced that five frontline workers shall be rewarded next time.
Javadekar also stated that women should get their due as per their capacity, adding that women work with the same force as men in politics.
“It’s a good opportunity today but as per their capacity, women should get their due. In politics, women work with the same force,” remarked Javadekar.
International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide every year on March 8 to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Choose to Challenge’. (ANI)

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A day to remember contribution of Indian women including Former PM Indira Gandhi: Anand Sharma

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on the occasion of International Women’s Day remembered former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and said let us pledge to bring transformative change in social attitudes and end prejudice, discrimination, atrocities and give respect to our women.
“This is a day to celebrate and recall the contribution of Indian women, well documented in history, from freedom fighters, social reformers, scientists, business leaders, sports persons, front-line warriors, astronauts, and armed forces and our illustrious Prime Minister Smt Indira Gandhi,” said Sharma.
“On this day, let us pledge to bring transformative change in social attitudes and end prejudice, discrimination, atrocities and give respect to our women,” he added.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted women on the occasion of International Women’s Day and said India takes pride in its many accomplishments. He said it was his government’s honor to work towards furthering women’s empowerment in the country across a wide range of sectors.
“Saluting our indomitable ‘Nari Shakti’ on International Women’s Day! India takes pride in the many accomplishments of the women of our nation. It is our Government’s honor to be getting the opportunity to work towards furthering women empowerment across a wide range of sectors,” PM Modi tweeted. (ANI)

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Delhi Jal Board moves SC against Haryana govt over discharge of pollutants into Yamuna

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Monday moved the Supreme Court against the Haryana government seeking immediate stoppage of discharge of untreated pollutants into the Yamuna river and also to release sufficient water to Delhi.
“Haryana once again has reduced the supply of raw water to Delhi leading to a shortage in water scarcity in Delhi,” Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairman Raghav Chadha said.
“Such behaviour of the Haryana government is not only undesirable but also deeply disappointing. The regular fall in the level of Yamuna river, especially during summers, along with the discharge of pollutants into Yamuna, causing rise in Ammonia levels in the capital, is a matter of grave concern,” Chadha added.
He further requested the Haryana government to take urgent cognisance of the matter and immediate steps to increase the supply of raw water to Delhi and curb the release of untreated effluents into the Yamuna which lead to an increase in Ammonia Level.
Delhi is facing a potential severe water crisis due to the twin factors of high ammonia levels in river Yamuna and the continuously depleting water level at Wazirabad barrage, which supplies drinking water to the Wazirabad, Okhla and Chandrawal water treatment plants of the Delhi Jal Board.
The water levels that should stand at 674.50 feet are now down to an alarming low of 670.4 feet. Raw water is sourced from the river Yamuna and is drawn at Wazirabad Barrage in Delhi. The availability of quantity and quality of raw water at Wazirabad Barrage is dependent on release of water by the Haryana government. (ANI)

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Tamil Nadu Polls: Owaisi’s AIMIM forms alliance with Dhinakaran’s AMMK

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 8 (ANI): Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) has formed an alliance with TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnettra Kazhagam (AMMK) on Monday for the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.
AIMIM will contest three Assembly constituencies including Vaniyambadi, Krishnagiri and Sankarapuram.

Elections to the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly will be held on April 6 and the counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)

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