SRINAGAR WILL BE MADE A HUB FOR WATER SPORTS: KIREN RIJIJU - The Daily Guardian
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SRINAGAR WILL BE MADE A HUB FOR WATER SPORTS: KIREN RIJIJU

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GULMARG: Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Friday said Srinagar will be made a hub for water sports. He also informed that the Sports Ministry has decided to give a Khelo India academy accreditation to the Mata Vaishnodevi sports complex. Sports Minister Rijiju also informed that two Khelo India State Centre of Excellence focusing on the disciplines of Judo, Fencing, and Rowing have been opened. “We had announced that we will create a state-of-the-art winter sports academy here. Now, we are happy to inform you that all the procedures are in place to get the world standard institute opened here soon,” said Rijiju. “We have also opened two Khelo India State Center of Excellence here focusing on the disciplines of Judo, Fencing and Rowing. Srinagar will be made a hub for water sports. Also, we have decided to give a Khelo India academy accreditation to the Mata Vaishnodevi sports complex,” the Sports Minister added.

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Shattering the glass ceiling: What makes Droupadi Murmu NDA’s best bet

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Born in a poor tribal family in the village of Mayurbhanj, Droupadi Murmu is the first woman tribal leader to file her nomination for the post of President. Her rise from a tribal leader to the governor of Jharkhand and now a presidential nominee serves as an inspiration to many young girls. If elected, she will become the first tribal President of India and the country’s second female President.

Since her childhood, Murmu has been shattering several glass ceilings and converting her challenges into opportunities. Hailing from a backward district in Odisha, Mrumu completed her studies despite challenging circumstances. She taught at Shri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre, Rairangpur and pursued BA at Ramadevi Women’s College Bhubaneswar. She ventured into politics as the vice-chairman of the Rairangpur NAC and was a member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly from Rairangpur between 2000 and 2004. As a minister, she held various challenging portfolios, including Transport and Commerce, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries. Prior to this, she had served as a junior assistant in the irrigation and power department.  In 1997, Murmu was vice president of state ST morcha and served as the chief of BJP’s ST morcha between 2006 and 2009. Post which, she served as the national executive member of BJP’s ST morcha from 2013 to 2015. She was also the BJP district chief of Mayurbhanj (West) in 2010 and 2013.  She served as Jharkhand Governor from 2015 to 2021. With the countdown kickstarting for presidential polls on July 18, it will be worth a watch if NDA manages to hit the bull’s eye with another masterstroke after Ram Nath Kovind, who became the first Dalit president of the country.

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India sends essentials to crisis-ridden Sri Lanka

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India provided a humanitarian consignment worth more than SLR 3 billion to Sri Lanka, which is facing the worst economic crisis since its independence.

According to the High Commission of India in Colombo, the consignment comprises rice, milk powder and essential medicines. “From the people of #India to the people of #SriLanka!!! High Commissioner, Hon’ble Ministers @Keheliya_R, Nalin Fernando, MPs, various dignitaries and officials welcomed a large humanitarian consignment worth more than SLR 3 billion from #Tuticorn today. The 15,000 MT consignment consists of rice, milk powder and essential medicines,” the High Commission said in a tweet.

India was among the first few countries to extend its aid to Sri Lanka to mitigate the unprecedented economic crisis. New Delhi has provided a concessional loan of USD 1 billion to Sri Lanka for the supply of food, fuel, medicines, and other essential items.

In May, the food inflation in Sri Lanka stood at 57.4 per cent, while shortages of key food items, as well as fuel for cooking, transport, and industry, remain widespread, with ongoing daily power outages.

The economy is bracing for a sharp contraction due to the unavailability of basic inputs for production, an 80 per cent depreciation of the currency (since March 2022), coupled with a lack of foreign reserves and the country’s failure to meet its international debt obligations.

The high-level Indian delegation led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra visited Sri Lanka recently and underscored that the recent economic, financial and humanitarian assistance of over USD 3.5 billion to the island country was guided by New Delhi’s “Neighbourhood First” Policy.

The delegation comprising Ajay Seth, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, V Anantha Nageswaran, Chief Economic Advisor and Kartik Pande, Joint Secretary, Indian Ocean Region, Ministry of External Affairs was in Colombo on Thursday.

The delegation had meetings with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during the visit. The talks between the two sides were held in a frank, cordial and constructive manner, the High Commission of India Colombo said in a statement. Both sides had a productive exchange of views on the current economic situation in Sri Lanka as well as India’s ongoing support.

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Tremors in Karnataka Congress, Rahul asks Siddaramaiah to be patient

R. Jayaprakash

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Rahul

With Siddaramaiah’s camp dropping a bombshell that the former Chief Minister will not contest the assembly elections if he is not declared Congress’s chief ministerial, Rahul Gandhi advised the Kuruba leader to observe patience. Elections to the Karnataka state assembly are due in early 2023.

Even as the grand old party is battling hard to keep its flock together in the state, with the ED sword now dangling on the heads of the Gandhi family, the recent protests in New Delhi against Union government’s Agnipath scheme and alleged misuse of Central agencies, became a forum to give a strong message to those indulging in blackmail politics in the state.

In a veiled threat, Siddaramaiah had conveyed it to the party high command that he would not contest if he was not made a chief ministerial face of the Congress party ahead of the all important assembly elections in Karnataka in 2023.

Delivering his subtle message, Rahul said, “Congress party teaches patience. I have been working since 2004, Sachin Pilot is sitting here, Randeep is here, Siddaramaiah ji is here.” Rahul named these Congress leaders who are waiting to get top posts. “Congress Party teaches patience and expects their leaders to exercise it, but in BJP you need to bow,” Rahul added. He also gave his example how he sat with patience during the 50-hour ED grilling.

Highly placed sources in the party, who are in the know of these developments, told The Daily Guardian Review that Siddaramaiah has resorted to blackmail politics ever since Vokkaliga strongman DK Shivakumar has been made the state Congress chief. “We lost the third seat in the recently held Rajya Sabha elections from Karnataka to the BJP. We had supported former PM HD Deve Gowda to get nominated to Rajya

Sabha and they would have accommodated us had we dealt with them properly,” sources said. Adding further sources said, “Siddaramaiah pressured the party to field former RS Dy Speaker Rehman Khan’s son Mansoor with the pretext of exposing JDS and calling them BJP’s B team. This led to an ego clash with HD Kumaraswamy and the BJP made the best of the situation and got their third candidate elected.”

Siddaramaiah is notorious for his arm-twisting and blackmail tactics and the party is very well aware of this. “The entire Congress leadership was in Delhi for Wednesday›s protest and a subtle message was conveyed to top brass that Siddaramaiah will not contest if he is not projected as prospective Chief Minister. “Rahul›s message to the leaders on the stage was in this context,” sources said. 

The Chief Minister, who has positioned himself as an OBC leader of Karnataka, has over the years held his political bosses to ransom by threatening to hold Ahinda (acronym to backward classes, SCs, STs and minorities) rallies outside the party gambit. He fell out with JDS in 2005 for these reasons. According to sources, “The Congress Party gave him a lease of life, politically speaking, by making him the leader of Opposition and then Chief Minister. He was also made chairman of the coordination committee during the JDS–Congress coalition led by HD Kumaraswamy. But he encouraged dissent in the party that led to the collapse of government. For a year our leaders in Delhi had not given him time and now he is resorting to his old tricks which the party will not take kindly.”

It is an open secret that both DK Shivkumar and Siddaramaiah do not get along with each other. There are many incidents of war of words between MLAs from both the camps, prompting the high command to play peacemaker on more than one occasion. However, pressuring the party to declare him as a chief ministerial face is another thing altogether. “The complete routing of the party in Punjab in the recently concluded elections is something to learn from,” said the sources. The culture of collectively fighting elections will be restored in Karnataka. The CLP leader will be elected by MLAs in consent with the high command post elections. Any misadventure by Siddaramaiah will be dealt with suitably and this message has been conveyed to him in the public forum. 

Sabha and they would have accommodated us had we dealt with them properly,” sources said. Adding further sources said, “Siddaramaiah pressured the party to field former RS Dy Speaker Rehman Khan’s son Mansoor with the pretext of exposing JDS and calling them BJP’s B team. This led to an ego clash with HD Kumaraswamy and the BJP made the best of the situation and got their third candidate elected.”

Siddaramaiah is notorious for his arm-twisting and blackmail tactics and the party is very well aware of this. “The entire Congress leadership was in Delhi for Wednesday›s protest and a subtle message was conveyed to top brass that Siddaramaiah will not contest if he is not projected as prospective Chief Minister. “Rahul›s message to the leaders on the stage was in this context,” sources said. 

The Chief Minister, who has positioned himself as an OBC leader of Karnataka, has over the years held his political bosses to ransom by threatening to hold Ahinda (acronym to backward classes, SCs, STs and minorities) rallies outside the party gambit. He fell out with JDS in 2005 for these reasons. According to sources, “The Congress Party gave him a lease of life, politically speaking, by making him the leader of Opposition and then Chief Minister. He was also made chairman of the coordination committee during the JDS–Congress coalition led by HD Kumaraswamy. But he encouraged dissent in the party that led to the collapse of government. For a year our leaders in Delhi had not given him time and now he is resorting to his old tricks which the party will not take kindly.”

It is an open secret that both DK Shivkumar and Siddaramaiah do not get along with each other. There are many incidents of war of words between MLAs from both the camps, prompting the high command to play peacemaker on more than one occasion. However, pressuring the party to declare him as a chief ministerial face is another thing altogether. “The complete routing of the party in Punjab in the recently concluded elections is something to learn from,” said the sources. The culture of collectively fighting elections will be restored in Karnataka. The CLP leader will be elected by MLAs in consent with the high command post elections. Any misadventure by Siddaramaiah will be dealt with suitably and this message has been conveyed to him in the public forum. 

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Despite Wang’s advice, India to continue to raise China’s belligerence

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China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi may have lauded India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for objecting to external forces meddling in China-India bilateral ties, but New Delhi will continue to raise Beijing’s assertive and aggressive activities at the various international forums and in the groups like Quad. Wang’s statement that India-China border issues should be put in appropriate place is being viewed as Beijing’s bid to ensure that New Delhi does not discuss LAC problems at the global forums. Top diplomatic sources told The Daily Guardian Review that despite Wang Yi’s messaging on the bilateral disputes, India will continue to raise the border row and other issues reflecting Beijing’s belligerence in legitimate and logical manner on various platforms.   

At a meeting with India’s new envoy to Beijing Pradeep Kumar Rawat, Wang made these comments. He also said that common interests between China and India far outweigh their differences. The Chinese minister had said that the way Jaishankar “expressed his disapproval of European centralism” and “objected to external forces meddling” in China-India bilateral ties, is a reflection of “India’s tradition of independence”. 

The Indian diplomats say, “All this sounds good, but the Chinese foreign minister should also ensure that the LAC stand-off is resolved.

But on the contrary, the PLA continues to create one problem or other along the Line of Actual Control in the eastern Ladakh region”.

Sources said that during his meeting with the Chinese foreign minister, the Indian ambassador was right to stress the criticality of maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas to realise the full potential of consensus on bilateral relations between the two countries. “This was a meaningful and an apt message to the Chinese side by the ambassador,” sources add. EAM Jaishankar has already explained why it was mandatory for the Quad and other forums to discuss China’s assertive activities along the LAC. Jaishankar had said that China disregarding the written agreements with India on not massing troops at the border was an issue of legitimate concern for the entire international community. “It is an issue in which a lot of countries legitimately take interest, particularly if they are from the Indo-Pacific region. When a large country disregards written commitments, I think it’s an issue of legitimate concern for the entire international community,” Jaishankar had said after the Quad Foreign Ministers’ meet in Australia few weeks ago.     

Now the diplomats recall it as a message to China whose foreign minister is saying that the India-China border issues should be put in appropriate place. “All that Wang Yi said amounted to suggesting that India should not raise the border row at any international platform,” a source said. “Raising Chinese aggressive agenda at the global forums or during bilateral talks with other international leaders does not amount to allowing them to meddle in the bilateral issues between India and China,” he adds. “The countries which stake holders in the Indo-Pacific need to be updated on Beijing’s belligerence,” he further notes.   

Wang Yi has had praised India for calling out the West, lauding Jaishankar for a speech he made in Europe earlier this month. 

On Wednesday, Rawat paid a courtesy visit to Wang Yi at Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guest House. This was his first in-person meeting with the Chinese minister since taking over as India’s new ambassador.

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VACCINATION PREVENTED OVER 42 LAKH DEATHS IN INDIA: LANCET

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Vaccine

In what can be seen as a massive achievement for India, a study conducted by Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal has revealed that the country’s mega vaccine drive prevented over 42 lakh deaths in 2021. The projections mentioned in the Lancet study reveal that India’s vaccination drive may have helped reduce the mortality rate by bringing down the number of deaths to almost a third.

«For India, we estimate that 4,210,000 deaths were prevented by vaccination. This is our central estimate, with the uncertainty in this estimate ranging between 3,665,000-4,370,000. (This is our 95 per cent credible in

terval,» the study said. 

Oliver Watson, the lead author of the study, said that the study refers to estimates of excess mortality in India during the Covid-19 pandemic by a British weekly newspaper and the WHO, adding, «Independently, our group has also investigated the Covid-19 death toll based on reports of excess mortality and seroprevalence surveys and arrived at similar estimates of almost 10 times the official count.»

Globally, about 20 million deaths were averted due to the Covid-19 vaccination. The study said, «Across 185 countries and territories, 31.4 million Covid-19-related deaths would have occurred during this timeframe in the absence of Covid-19 vaccination. About 19.8 million deaths were averted by Covid-19 vaccination.»

As a result, the number of lives saved due to Covid-19 vaccination exceeded the potential death toll. However, the study added, «Even more lives could have been saved by improving the equitability of vaccination coverage worldwide. Specifically, an estimated 156,900 additional deaths would have been averted if the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility›s vaccination target of 20 per cent (for each advance market commitment country) had been attained, and an estimated 599,300 additional deaths would have been averted if WHO›s 2021 Covid-19 vaccination target of 40 per cent had been attained.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday that India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage has crossed the 196 crore mark. As per the official data, over 3.6 crore adolescents have been administered the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and about 2 crore Covid-19 precaution doses have been given to people, who are above the age of 18. 

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Officers making false claims on Gujarat riot must be put in dock: SC

The apex court says some officers made allegations ‘replete with falsehood’ against the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

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The Supreme Court on Friday remarked that disgruntled officials of the Gujarat government who made sensational revelations in relation to the 2002 riots only “to keep the pot boiling” must be put in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with the law.

A Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar remarked that the testimonies of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, late Haren Pandya (former Gujarat home minister), and R.B. Sreekumar (the then Additional Director General of Police – Intelligence) were only to “sensationalize and politicize” the issue, although, replete with falsehood. Pandya, the then Gujarat›s Home Minister, was shot dead on March 26, 2003, during a morning walk near Ahmedabad›s law garden area.

The top court relied on the final report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which concluded that Bhatt, Pandya had set up a false plea of being present in the meeting held on February 27, 2002 where the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi allegedly made the utterance.

“We hasten to add that it is only because of the ultra-sensational revelation projected by Sanjiv Bhatt and Haren Pandya, who unabashedly claimed to be privy to the utterances made by the then Chief Minister in an official meeting, the constitutional functionaries and this Court was required to move into action taking serious note of the same,” the Bench said.

“But, after thorough investigation by the SIT, the falsity of such claim has been fully exposed on the basis of credible indisputable materials collated by the SIT during the investigation in that regard,» the bench also comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice CT Ravikumar said.

“At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat along with others was to create sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge,” the Supreme Court added.

“The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT after a thorough investigation. Intriguingly, the present proceedings have been pursued for the last 16 years including with the audacity to question the integrity of every functionary involved in the process of exposing the devious stratagem adopted, to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design,” the top court said.

“As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with the law,» it remarked.

The Bench’s observation came while upholding the clean chit given by the SIT to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the 2002 riots. The top Court also dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who had alleged a larger conspiracy in the case. The plea was dismissed on the grounds of ‘lack of merit.’

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