The Bharatiya Janata Party announced its list of 80-member national executive council on Thursday. While many Union Ministers and veteran leaders like L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are on the list, party MPs and mother-son duo Maneka Gandhi and Varun Gandhi were dropped from the executive council. The new national executive committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party announced on Thursday includes several leaders from Uttar Pradesh, with the party keeping in mind “seniority” and caste equations in the poll-bound state. With the BJP making inroads in West Bengal, it is probably the first time that the national executive has so many members from the state.
Party sources said that seniority and caste factors in the state were taken into consideration while finalising the members from Uttar Pradesh. Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there are 12 senior party members from Uttar Pradesh in the 80-member national executive. They include Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Smriti Irani, M.A. Naqvi, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Sanjeev Balyan, besides Murli Manohar Joshi, Santosh Gangwar, Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan, Brijesh Pathak and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Jain.
Party leaders said that the national executive is a strategic committee that deliberates on the performance and the future direction of the policies and tasks to be undertaken by the government, if the party is in power, and also programmes by the organisation. Another state that has got prominence in the national executive is West Bengal. The BJP hopes to consolidate its gains in the state and build on the seats it won in recent elections. Those in the national executive from the state include some leaders who joined the BJP from Trinamool Congress ahead of the Assembly polls—Dinesh Trivedi and Bharati Ghosh. Swapan Dasgupta, actor-turned-politician Mithun Chakraborty, Anirban Ganguly, Mukut Mani Adhikari, Jayanta Roy, Rajib Banerjee, Ashok Lahiri, Debashree Chowdhury, Rupa Ganguli and Mafuza Khatun are also in the list. Lt General Subrata Saha (retd) has been given a place from Delhi.
BJP sources said the party has given a signal to the West Bengal leaders that the party has its focus on the state despite losing the Assembly polls earlier this year. “This is probably the first time that so many people from West Bengal have been accommodated in the committee. It is a clear message to the state leaders that the party has its focus on Bengal,” a party leader said
As for Varun Gandhi, his removal comes when he has been quite vocal regarding the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. “He projected as if the entire fault lies at the doorsteps of the leaders. We are awaiting the investigation report and believe that the incident was unfortunate. He should have been patient at a time when the entire opposition is targeting the party,” said a senior BJP leader.
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GOVERNMENT SHOULD FOCUS ON EDUCATION IN THIS BUDGET, REDUCE DIGITAL DIVIDE
In comparison to 2021, India is in a much better state to handle the upcoming wave of Covid-19 cases. A majority of the sectors has recovered and is now back on track for rapid growth. One sector, however, has seen the slowest recovery – the Education sector, with students still unable to attend school physically and unable to get vaccinated, either.
We expect the Government to shift a lot of focus to the Education sector in this version of the budget in the following ways:
Higher allocation in overall budget
1. Last year, the Government slashed it’s allocation towards Education in the Annual Budget by 6%, amounting to a total allocation of Rs. 93,223 crores, against Rs. 99,311 crores in the year before that. This year, we expect the Government to increase allocation by around 10%, since last year the 6% slash was attributed to funds allocation towards healthcare and other emergency services.
Reducing the digital divide
2. We expect this year’s Education budget to focus on reducing the digital divide, which has kept a significant number of students – that rely on the country’s public education system and belong to challenged socio-economic backgrounds – from accessing education during the pandemic. We have already seen states like Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat provide devices and connectivity to needy students for free, or with heavy subsidy; we expect the Central Government to address this issue to ensure that students can resume classes virtually.
Reduced GST rates
3. The pandemic’s impact on the education system, particularly the public education system, has increased reliance of all students on supplementary sources of education that are provided by private organisations. Traditionally, such sources have been categorized under ‘Educational Services’ and taxed at 18% under Goods & Services Tax (GST). We expect the Government to revise the GST rate for this category to 5%, thereby easing the financial pressure on the students’ parents, particularly those from lower and middle class families .
Partner with private companies
4. Given the utility of education-technology (EdTech) tools during the pandemic, we expect the Government to announce a host of schemes this year to make EdTech tools accessible to students across the country. These schemes could pertain to Public Private Partnerships (PPP), subsidies or Direct Bank Transfers (DBT) to enable citizens to procure devices, connectivity and even subscription to educational services that will enable them to garner knowledge amidst closure of their educational institutions
Focus on vernacular languages
5. Since a significant number of students relying on the public education system learn in vernacular languages which are largely ignored by private EdTech players – it is quite likely that the Education budget will observe the Government mobilising resources towards creation or curation of regional-language educational content that will be aimed at such students. Efforts in this direction have already been initiated over the last few years, however, they are likely to receive a shot in the arm this year.
I believe that these key features, if addressed in the upcoming budget, will help India’s education system get back on track to recovery and help students continue their education even if they are unable to visit their schools till the students get fully vaccinated.
The Author is the Co-founder of ConnectEd Technologies which is an ed-tech social enterprise
YOU END UP SAYING THINGS IN WRITERS ROOM THAT COME OUT ONLY DURING THERAPY: GARIMA PURA
In this exclusive conversation, Garima, who is the co-writer of the Netflix show ‘Little Things’ opened up about her journey of working as a screenwriter.
Writer Garima Pura joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Garima, who is the co-writer of the Netflix show ‘Little things’ opened up about her journey of working as a screenwriter.
Garima started off by giving us insights about her fellow writers and sharing her experience of being the writer of a prominent show like ‘little things’ she said, “ The first and second season were written by Dhruv Sehgal, he is the original writer. When Netflix picked it up for the third season is when they asked for a diversity in the writers teams. Writers room experience per say was all heart. You end up saying things that come out only during therapy. Writing is a personal experience. There is craft and technique but mostly there is experiences and emotions. So all the writers have to become friends and get to know each other well. You just put all those experiences in the mix on the table and then pick what is good for the show. She went to say that, ‘’This is not purely experience based, there’s fiction too
Talking more about her writer’s room experience and how she bagged the project, Garima shared, “Little things writers rooms was first few in the country. This concept is seen an advent with the advent of OTTs. At that time, I was already floating my work with the production houses to see if I get something or not. I was presenting and asking to be given an opportunity. That is when ‘Little things’ team went through my profile. We had to write sample scripts and a solid screening process post, which we were picked. Then we found ourselves in a little writer’s room where we met day and day out.
Sharing about the overwhelming response from the audience on the third season of the show, Garima expressed, “There are so many talented people out there who deserve their writing to be showcased. Being in this position, I feel so honored and privileged that I got an opportunity so early in my carrier to contribute to an already solid show. I feel great and humble at the same time and it also inspires me to do better work and tell stories which are honest and people feel close to.”
When asked about her previous work experiences, the writer said, “I have made documentaries in the past and I’ve been different types of writer at different stages. Until the time I was in studying in Chandigarh, filmmaking was nowhere in the horizon, I just wanted to be a writer. I had published poems and stories and enrolled in a media course to become a journalist. So there I felt like film making is a good vessel to share my experiences and be heard.”
For our final question, we asked Garima about her upcoming projects, to which she revealed, “Right now I am doing dialogues for an 8 episode web show. I am extremely excited for this because its North Indian dialogues as I have a good command over this lingo. Next, I am working with Audible and a couple of short films here and there. I wrote a feature documentary “Sacred bond” which is about an orphan elephant who is being taken care of by human parents”.
ANDRE LEON TALLEY: VOGUE MAGAZINE’S PRODIGY AND BEACON OF INSPIRATION
Talley was one of the last great fashion editors, who had an incredible sense of fashion history. He could see through everything you do to the original reference, predict what was on your inspiration board.
The death of André Leon Talley at age 73 on January 18 2022 owing to a heart attack is a setback to the fashion industry.
Andre Leon Talley has died aged 73Talley and Naomi Campbell wear Alexander McQueen for the AngloMania Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art 2006
The former creative director of Vogue, Talley was recognised for his larger than life personality and expansive knowledge in sartorial topics, requisites that deemed him as a fashion icon in his own right.
Born in Washington D.C. and raised by his grandmother in North Carolina, Talley studied French literature at Brown University before becoming an apprentice at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1974.
He went on to work as a fashion journalist at Women’s Wear Daily and Vogue, attending regular fashion shows in New York and around Europe.
Talley landed a role as Vogue’s Fashion News Director, and was later named the magazine’s first Black male creative director in 1988. He returned to the publication in 1998 to serve as editor-at-large, ending his tenure in 2013. Talley often advocated for diversity during his time at Vogue and within the fashion industry. “He also was very involved in fighting for more diversity on the runway, for more Black models,” New York Fashion Week creator Fern Mallis said. “Mostly on the runway it started, and then certainly that became a movement about in every aspect of the industry”.
He once served as a stylist for United States President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during their time in the White House; as well as styling Melania Trump for her 2005 wedding to Donald Trump.
Beyond print, Talley was a judge on America’s Next Top Model, starred in 2016 documentary The Gospel According to André, and wrote two memoirs.
In the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada, the character Nigel Kipling portrayed by Stanley Tucci is widely believed to be a depiction of Talley.
The kaftan or robe clad journalist he served as the creative director and editor-at-large (chronologically) at Vogue was usually seen at events next to Editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
In his time there, Talley became a close comrade of big-name designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Paloma Picasso; and his representatives noted his “penchant for discovering, nurturing and celebrating young designers”.
Vogue’s Anna Wintour remembered him fondly as “magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny”.
Belgian designer Diane von Furstenberg said no one was “grander and more soulful”, adding: “The world will be less joyful.”
Famed American designer Marc Jacobs said he was “in shock” over the news. “You championed me and you have been my friend since my beginning,” he posted online.
BRITAIN CALLS FOR UNITY AGAINST CHINA AND RUSSIA
Britain had cautioned Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Western world stands united to fight for democracy against dictatorships which it said were more emboldened than at any time since the Cold War.
Speaking at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, “The West must respond together to global threats, deepen ties with democracies in the Indo-Pacific and face global aggressors. Global aggressors are emboldened in a way we haven’t seen since the Cold War.” The Foreign Secretary highlighted that the 21st Century will be the century of struggle between democracies and rivals such as China and Russia who are challenging the post-Cold War consensus through all means be it militarily, economically and technologically.
She added, “They seek to export dictatorship as a service around the world. That is why regimes like Belarus, North Korea and Myanmar find their closest allies in Moscow and Beijing.”
She emphasised on the need to work with allies like India, Japan, Australia, Israel and Indonesia to face down global aggressors and threats to the world order.
In her speech, Liz Truss, called Russia a dictatorial model which is governed by a mercurial elite that had been involved in irresponsible escapades such as the 2014 annexation of Crimea, attempts to meddle in US and European elections, and a series of high-profile espionage and assassination attempts abroad. Truss further cautioned Moscow to desist and step back from Ukraine before it makes a massive strategic mistake and added that “Kremlin has not learned the lessons of history that invasion will only lead to a terrible quagmire and loss of life, as we know from the Soviet-Afghan war and conflict in Chechnya.”
In the last few months, tensions in the West on one hand, and China and Russia on the other hand, had increased in multiple theaters across the globe.
CANDIDATES QUESTION HEIGHT MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUE BEING USED FOR POLICE RECRUITMENT IN HARYANA
The process of male and female police constables recruitment for 5500 posts is going on in Haryana. But amid this, what came to the surface is that a lot of candidates continue to visit the Haryana Staff Selection Commission every day having complaints of irregularities which led to an increase in the troubles of the commission. It is learnt that aspirants miffed over the physical assessment technique being adopted by the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) during the aforesaid recruitment. The candidates raised their fingers over and accused machines and equipment of wrong physical measurements being used to measure their heights. The issue has become the talk of the town these days as a lot of candidates had visited the HSSC headquarters having complaints pertaining to the irregularities in the recruitment which emerged as a huge problem for the commission.
While reacting to the media over the ongoing issue, Bhopal Singh Khadri, the Chairman of the HSSC outrightly rejected the possibility of any kind of irregularities saying that there are no such irregularities during the physical measurements of the candidates. If any candidate is not satisfied with his physical measurement, then he will be given another chance and the concerned candidates are suggested to give written complaints or presentations before the commission regarding the issue further he said, the commission has already formed a redressal committee to address the issue of candidates.
Besides, few of the Haryana male aspirants were reportedly upset over the issues of irregularities pertaining to their documents on part of the commission. Many candidates hailing from the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) standing outside the HSSC offices here on Friday said that their documents were up to mark but not accepted which is annoying.
Several candidates Rohit, Manish, Deepak hailing from Rohtak, Rewari and Palwal took a dig at the physical measure technique being used for police recruitment saying that how the height measured in 2021, of a candidate can differ from which was measured in 2019. So the issue of measurement technique for the recruitment is at the Centre of discussion requiring the HSSC to look into the matter. It is pertinent to mention that the physical measurement technique is still the same since 2019 for police recruitment.
HARYANA AND HIMACHAL TO CONSTRUCT RS 215.33 CR ADI BADRI
An MoU has been signed between the governments of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for the construction of the Adi Badri Dam. Regarding this, Chief Minister Manohar Lal said this Saraswati river will be rejuvenated with the construction of the Adi Badri Dam. From time immemorial, religious beliefs will also be revived with the rejuvenation of the Saraswati river, along with this the area will also develop as a pilgrimage site.
It is pertinent to mention that Haryana government has notified an area of 200 km from Adi Badri to Ghaggar river via Kaithal for Saraswati river. A mention of the same can also be found in the revenue records.
While speaking at the MoU signing ceremony held for the construction of Dam at Adibadri in the presence of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur at PWD Rest House, Panchkula on Friday.
It is worth stating that the dam would be built on 31.66-hectares of land in the Himachal Pradesh region and an amount of Rs 215.33 crore would be spent for the same. It will store 224.58-hectare meters of water every year, of which Himachal Pradesh will get 61.88-hectare meters of water and Haryana will get the remaining 162-hectare meters of water. This water will flow into the Saraswati river. The width of this dam will be 101.06 meters and the height will be 20.5 meters. Around 20 cusecs of water from the dam will flow into the Saraswati river throughout the year, added Lal.
He further said that with the construction of Adi Badri Dam, the area around it would also develop as a pilgrimage. He said that the area from Kalka to Kalesar is very important from the tourism point of view. Many religious and tourist places come in this area including Adi Badri, Lohagarh, Kapal Mochan, Mata Mantra Devi. With the development of the Lake along with the dam, many tourists will come here, which will benefit both the states. Besides, several projects would be worked out in collaboration with Himachal Pradesh, including the construction of a dam at the Hathnikund barrage. Along with generating electricity from this dam, the continuous flow of clean water will also become possible in the Yamuna river. In this dam, the water flowing from the mountains to the Hathnikund barrage will be stored, so that the crops will also be saved from flood-like situations. NOC has been sought for this dam, survey work will start soon, added Lal.
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