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West Bengal Governor questions Mamata govt over increasing its shareholding in Andal airport

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], February 16 (ANI): West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday sought a response from the West Bengal Government for increasing its share holing in the Andal Airport in Durgapur from 11 per cent to 26 per cent and 26 per cent to 47 per cent.
“Pot boiling Andal Airport. Response sought @MamataOfficial How much Govt spent in increasing share from 11-26 per cent and 26-47 per cent? Details-share purchases-from whom; at what rate and at what rate they were allotted these shares? Who initiated purchase process from 11-26 and 26-47 per cent?” tweeted the Governor.
The Governor on Sunday said that he has sought the details of transactions of the airport and the list of beneficiaries due to worrisome inputs that public money was given away to extend largesse, adding that the government’s move will push the state to a huge financial burden.
Earlier in the week, Dhankhar had slammed the Mamata Banerjee-led state government over the law and order situation of the state and said that an atmosphere of fear prevails in West Bengal.
The spat between Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee started since the former took the office in July 2019.
Elections for 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal are slated to take place this year. (ANI)

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Fashion isn’t just about a fashion show, catwalk, behind the scenes or what we see on Instagram: Rina Dhaka

In an exclusive interview with NewsX, Rina Dhaka, one of India’s most celebrated fashion designers, spoke about her journey so far, changes in the fashion industry and much more. Read on!

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Rina Dhaka, one of India’s most celebrated fashion designers, joined NewsX for an exclusive interview as part of NewsX India A-List. She burst on to Indian fashion scene in the late 80s and has showcased her work at The Louvre Paris, and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York among many others.

Talking about her incredible journey so far, she said, “When I came around, there was no such career path for people in designing as such. There was late Rohit Khosla as a designer and there was Ritu Kumar in the northeast. But this whole industry as such didn’t exist. My journey, in fact, is what youth is, youth is all about innovation. That was the need of our hour. Our hour means, me and my contemporaries like Rohit Bal and Tarun Tahiliani; we all came around at a time and we were very heady with that period of time. There was no concept really about money, it was all about creativity, craft and trying to pursue some kind of fashion. In fact, at par with the rest of the world, there was really no design industry, even in the west. There were high street stores like Selfridges, Bloomingdales in America. Designers, as a category of clothing, came about the same time as us. And look where it is today. We have schools of fashion, we have students coming out of these great schools every year and there is a booming trade and industry. When we found the FDCI, we were just nine members. Over a cup of chai every evening and a few laughs, we created this body of FDCI. Today it itself has millions of followers on Instagram and it runs successful events like fashion weeks, which can help designers in India and internationally come together and get work. So yes, fashion has really been a long way and my journey is that journey too.”

Expressing her views on how the landscape of the fashion industry changed over the years, especially with inclusion of issues that matter to young people like body positivity and inclusivity, she said, “Lakme approached me to do a plus-size show and we did the casting for plus sizes. This was, i think two years or maybe two and a half years ago. There were 300 models, who came for audition, we only announced an hour before. Fabulous, body positive, not shy, very confident, and frankly, they could do runways anywhere. These are plus-size models. And one of the girls I picked out from a crowd called Sakshi. She has gone on to be on the cover of every national magazine. Today, she is India’s most celebrated model. Now in fashion weeks, we have to have a better ratio of plus-sized models as well. This is where the journey of inclusivity has got us and then the noise that we made in the years prior to that, took us there. I’m really happy that it’s no more about a size eight, which is called a sample size and passion because we always made samples are the first pieces on that size, which was the model sizing. Today, a sample size is also a plus size.”

When asked about the difficulties faced by the fashion industry in the past one year and are things coming back to normal, she responded, “Fashion is actually one of the trades which teaches you, especially for all of us who have been designers and my contemporaries. We are always in competition, we’re always running to the next season. We’re always pressured against, what we call a deadline, and the deadline has the word ‘dead’ and it’s not a fake word. It really is that you have to die before you finish the clothing.  You are really as good as your last collection or your last show. The year was hard. Everything was shot and the costs were high. There was also the demand totally shrunk. People realised that. My own very old client, who always has to buy something new that I have to offer, who is also like my muse, said, ‘Rina, what have I been doing with my life? Where am I going to go wearing these coats? I don’t know what I’m going to do, I have no need. I have decided not to be an active consumer anymore’.  This was like what the industry faced, especially the luxury industry of ours. In terms of exports as well, there were a lot of uncertainties, fears with stores, closing down, customers patterns, buying patterns and needs changing. ‘How do you reinvent yourself’ was something we all learnt. We’re on that journey now, we’re on that road now. I must say we’re like roaches, we will survive because our trade has taught us such. So, you can’t write us off as yet. We just go through, go through this.”

On a concluding note, she shared a piece of advice for the young designers and said, “Have strong health. Don’t ever ignore your health because you need health. A lot of these children go out and eat on the food, you know, roadside and all. Some of them succumb to jaundice, there were a lot of interns who would get jaundice because of the water, in the early days, not now maybe now they’re more aware. Second, Fashion isn’t a fashion show or a catwalk, behind the scenes or what we see on Instagram, or social media or television. In reality, it is quite dreary and dreadful. It is a lot of pursuits. You go into these dirty lanes following your garment or where it’s made to get it done. One has to be prepared for the monotony of the daily life that you need to pursue to stay in the grind of completing your work. ”

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Gujarat not to increase tax rates in Budget 2021-22

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Gandhinagar (Gujarat) [India], March 3 (ANI): In order to regain the economic momentum amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gujarat Finance Minister Nitinbhai Patel on Wednesday announced that the state will not increase the existing tax rates in the Budget 2021-22 and will not impose any new tax.
The state government has also given relief in stamp duty, motor vehicle tax, electricity tax and others. Various concessions have been given to small businesses and industrial units for resumption of economic activities.
The move comes after the Rs 14,000-crore relief package was announced in June 2020 for various sections in terms of tax, food security measures and other assistance.
Patel annouced the state budget 2021-22 for Gujarat on Wednesday.
In Gujarat’s largest budget so far of Rs 2.27 lakh crore, Rs 32,719 crore has been allocated for education and Rs 11,323 crore to the health and family welfare department.
The state finance minister allotted Rs 13,493 crore to urban development, Rs 5,494 crore for water resources, Rs 3,974 crore for water supply, Rs 7,232 crore for the Krishi Khedut Kalyan Yojana, Rs 4,353 for social justice and empowerment and Rs 1,502 crore for labour welfare and employment.
A provision of Rs 1,224 crore has been proposed for food and civil supplies, Rs 1,814 crore for forest, environment, Rs 563 crore for Science and Technology, Rs 1,032 crore for the destitute and old age pension and the revenue department has been provided Rs 4,548 crore.
The Budget has allocated Rs 1,500 crore for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train, Rs 50 crore to buy new police vehicles, Rs 100 crore for crop credit in Co-operative Department, Rs 11,185 crore for Roads and Buildings Department, Rs 1,478 crore for Ports and Transport Department, Rs 13,034 crore for energy and petrochemical sector and Rs 910 crore for Climate Change Department.
The Industry and Mines Department, Forest and Environment Department, and Home department have been allocated Rs 6,599 crore, Rs 1,814 crore and Rs 7,960 crore respectively. (ANI)

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In a first, Jawans to participate in discussions at PM Modi-headed military commanders’ meet

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By Ajit K Dubey
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): For the first time, jawans from armed forces would be taking part in the Combined Commanders’ Conference to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this week.
The Combined Commanders’ Conference was till now involved only Commander-in-Chief rank officers who along with their respective Services chiefs would be addressed by the Prime Minister and given the directives on dealing with the security challenges perceived by the government.
“The jawans would take part in different discussions involving issues related to the functioning of forces and operations,” government sources told ANI.
Sources said the suggestion to involve jawans in the discussions came from the Prime Minister’s Office itself.
The jawans participating in the discussions would include Junior Commissioned Officers and Non-commissioned officers and they would be giving presentations on topics given to them, the sources said.
Sources said the insights of jawans come in very handy in day to day functioning of the forces and during the recent India China clash also, the jawans provided valuable suggestions during the digging of trenches and building defences against the Chinese.
Prime Minister has changed the usual way of conducting the combined commanders’ conference as he took it out from the South Block and held it on operational bases.
After his first address in 2014, at a conference in the south block, it has been held on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and Jodhpur airbase.
This time, it is being held in the Kevadia town of Gujarat in front of the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel’s Statue of Unity where the top brass of the military would be staying in tents for the duration of the conference. (ANI)

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V Ponraj, Abdul Kalam’s scientific adviser appointed VP of Kamal Haasan’s MNM

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 3 (ANI): A month ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, actor turned politician Kamal Haasan inducted former President and scientist Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s scientific adviser V Ponraj as the Vice President of his Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) on Wednesday.
Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will take place on May 2.
The term of the fifteenth legislative assembly in Tamil Nadu is ending on May 2, 2021. As many as 6,28,23,749 electors will choose candidates for the sixteenth legislative assembly in the state.
The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is contesting the elections in a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). MK Stalin’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has joined hands with Congress. This time actor-turned-politician Hassan’s party MNM is also in the fray.
In December 2020, Hassan inducted former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Santhosh Babu, as the General Secretary of his MNM.
Haasan had launched Makkal Needhi Maiam on February 21, 2018, in Madurai. (ANI)

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2nd phase Day-3 : Elderly queue up to get COVID-19 vaccine

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By Archana Prasad
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Elderly people have queued up on Wednesday at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the national capital to get themselves vaccinated in the second phase of India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Dr. Shalini Chawala, a COVID-19 vaccination nodal officer said 200 people who are above 60 years old are coming each day to get the COVID-19 jab at Ganga Ram hospital.
She also said senior citizens are kept under observation for 30 minutes at the hospital after their vaccination.
“Fortunately no complications or any kind of problem have occurred, everything is smooth till now,” Chawal said.
She added that the hospital is availing services from nursing students at the vaccination center.
As most of the senior citizens are not tech-friendly, the students are helping them to register online for vaccination.
Rakesh Mohan Diwan a 70-year-old at the hospital said, “Prime minister Narendra Modi has given courage to the country by taking the dose. The arrangements are very good here, everything is happening very systematically”.
Preeti Jain, another 65-year-old said, “It’s not a problem for us to stand in the queue as it’s for our own benefit. If we go to see a doctor we wait for our turn, then why not here,” she said.
She also said the arrangements at the vaccination centre were good. (ANI)

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Chinese hackers get more aggressive to hack Indian organisations’ cyberspace in last one year, agencies on alert

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New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Chinese hackers have been trying hard to crack Indian cyber space. There have been more aggressive attempts of hacking by Chinese hackers since last one year.
Various government organisations like the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) and the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) are following trends and keeping a track of attempts made by Chinese post Galwan clash.
Experts said attempts from China have increased in the last year, which further amplified after the Indian Government banned Chinese applications post the Galwan clash.
Recently a report has emerged this week claiming that two Indian companies, which are supplying COVID-19 vaccinations — Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech — are under cyber attack by a Chinese hacking group APT10, also known as Stone Panda and actively targeting one such company. Sources claimed that CERT-IN is looking into this matter.
Also, Telangana electricity department officials have also claimed that they have received alerts from CERT-IN about Chinese malware trying to enter the cyber system of the department.
Earlier on Tuesday, Union Power Minister RK Singh had said, “We should remain alert” while refuting claims that the blackout in Mumbai last year was due to a Chinese cyber-attack.
Sources in the government said that all alerts were issued regarding such attempts and concern agencies have been asked to educate organisations about such attempts and keep them updated with new threats. Chinese hackers, majorly focus on big institutions instead of Individual, sources claimed.
The NCIIPC, which comes under the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) also documented details about Chinese hackers and their modus operandi about attacks generating from China recently.
The NCIIPC is a national nodal agency for all measures to protect the nation’s critical information infrastructure. It protects and delivers advice that aims to reduce the vulnerabilities of critical information infrastructure against cyber terrorism, cyber warfare and other threats.
Sources said this organisation has compiled data of attempts of cyber attack from China in the last year, which had seen an upward trend.
While giving details about a China-based threat, NCIIPC’s Threat Assessment group said, “Emissary Panda also known as APT-27 is a China-based threat actor that involves in targeting foreign embassies to collect data related to government, defence and technology sectors. Activities of Emissary Panda have been noticed since 2010 during attack in organisations across the world including financial services firms, US defence contractors, and a national data center in Central Asia.”
The organisation dedicated more than half a dozen of pages to various China-based threats on Power, IT and government sectors in its last newsletter of 2020.
NCIIPC further warns that when malicious attackers gain access to an industrial control system, they are able to disrupt industrial control and safety processes, leading to costly outages, damaged turbines, threats to personnel safety and even environmental disasters.
The threat assessment group of NCIIPC also provided about another Chinese hacker group Elderwood and said, “Elderwood is a Chinese cyber espionage group that attacked Google in 2009 using Hydraq Trojan horse known as Operation Aurora and Google also confirmed that some of its intellectual property had been stolen. Interesting highlights of their approach include the use of the seemingly unlimited amount of zero-day exploitation, attacks on service providers working for the target organization.”
Meanwhile, experts said attempts post the Galwan clash have been increased and various government organisations are dealing with it in a coordinated manner.
Rakshit Tondon, a cyber expert who works with various state and central agencies said China has always been like that but whenever there is some direct military conflict, the attempts increase.
“There is no official confirmation that Chinese hackers have successfully hacked any system of India but there have been aggressive attempts in the last year. Whenever there is such a (military) conflict, the Chinese increase their attempts. It was further amplified after India banned Chinese applications,” he told ANI. (ANI)

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