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Atrocities on Dalits social problem, not political: Athawale

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Ramdas Athawale

Kolkata, Sep 28 : Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Thursday said atrocity against Dalits is “not a political but a social problem” and stressed on the importance of encouraging inter-caste marriages and stringent action against the offenders to end such incidents.

Noting that Uttar Pradesh tops the chart in the country in terms of caste-related violence, followed by Rajasthan and Bihar, the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment said it is wrong to say that such incidents have increased under the BJP regime as the attacks on Dalits are continuing for many years irrespective of which party is in power.

“There were 47,000 registered cases of such atrocities in India last year. It is not a political issue but a social issue. Taking initiatives like encouraging inter-caste marriage and higher conviction rate of the offenders can help.

“The attacks on Dalits have been happening in this country for several years. As long as there is casteism, such attacks and atrocities would continue, no matter which party is in power at the Centre,” the Dalit leader from Maharashtra told reporters here.

It is not true that atrocities on the Dalits have increased in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime, Athawale said, adding that there were instances of attacks and violence on Dalits even during the Congress rule.

“In Bengal, Dalits faced violence during the communist rule and it is going on in Mamata Banerjee’s regime also,” he said.

Athawale urged the state governments to come up with initiatives like providing a grant of Rs 25 lakh to the district with highest number of inter-caste marriages and give such couples a priority in government jobs to encourage such practices.

The Minister, however, pointed out that there have been 1,708 and 609 cases of attacks on the backward classes in Bengal in 2017 and 2018, respectively, which is significantly lower than many other states.

He said the Bengal government should increase to Rs 1 lakh the grant of Rs 30,000 that it now gives to inter-caste couples after marriage.

Referring to the petitions challenging the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018, which does away with the court-imposed requirements of undertaking preliminary inquiry and of procuring approval prior to making an arrest, he said there should be no changes to the new amendment.

“99 per cent of cases of atrocities on Dalits are legitimate. The act comes into play when there are attacks on Dalits’ lives and properties. However, the authorities need to be cautious that the law is not misused. Instead of seeking changes in the act, the people should change their mindset regarding how to behave with the Dalits,” he said.

The Minister, who held a meeting with the members of Matua Mahasangha, a religious reformation movement that originated from Bangladesh, said the Bengal government should pass a resolution in the state Assembly to grant citizenship rights to the community.

“We demand that the 1971 citizenship act be amended so that those who were forced to take refuge in India in search of livelihood and security are be given Indian citizenship,” the Republican Party of India leader said.

“These people (Matuas) are neither terrorists nor do they have any intention to create unrest in India. They were forced to take refuge in India during the war between Pakistan and Bangladesh. So they should have the right to stay in India,” he added.

India

“India Feels Absence…”: Rahul Gandhi’s Birthday Wish For Manmohan Singh

Rahul Gandhi, in his birthday wishes, praised Dr Singh’s “honesty, decency and dedication”, which he said was an inspiration to others.

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Manmohan Singh

New Delhi: India feels the absence of a prime minister with the “depth” of Dr Manmohan Singh, said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as he wished the former Prime Minister on his 88th birthday today.

Rahul Gandhi, who was one of the first to wish Dr Singh, also praised him for his “honesty, decency and dedication”, which, he said, was an inspiration to others.

“India feels the absence of a PM with the depth of Dr Manmohan Singh. His honesty, decency and dedication are a source of inspiration for us all. Wishing him a very happy birthday and a lovely year ahead,” Mr Gandhi tweeted, using hashtag HappyBirthdayDrMMSingh.

India feels the absence of a PM with the depth of Dr Manmohan Singh. His honesty, decency and dedication are a source of inspiration for us all.

The Congress praised Dr Singh as a dedicated leader who was always committed towards the overall well-being of each Indian. “A dedicated leader’s primary aim is always to eradicate the worst evils that plague the society in the soonest & surest possible way. Today, we celebrate former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s commitment towards the overall well-being of each Indian,” it tweeted.

The party also released a short video listing out the senior Congress leader’s achievements.

Gujarat Congress leader Hardik Patel, meanwhile, credited Dr Singh for good governance and strengthening the Indian economy during his tenure as prime minister of the country.

“Happy birthday to the great economist, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. May God keep you healthy and provide longevity. Due to Dr. Saheb, the country was strengthened financially, today the public remembers the strong good governance of Manmohan Singh. Jai Ho,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Born in Gag, now in Pakistan, on September 26, 1932, Dr Singh is credited with bringing in sweeping reforms in the 1990. He was Prime Minister for 10 years until the Congress was decimated by the BJP in 2014 and PM Modi took power for the first time.

Manmohan Singh, who was the first Sikh in office, was also the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term. Mr Singh’s political career began in 1991 when he was appointed as the country’s Finance Minister under the leadership of late prime minister PV Narasimha Rao. It was the same year during which he helped usher in “liberalisation and privatisation” to the Indian economy.

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Cities

Another earthquake jolts Jammu and Kashmir

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Earthquake Strong

An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter Scale jolted Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. According to the National Centre for Seismology (NCS), the tremors were felt at 12:02 pm today.

The epicentre of the earthquake was yet not known.

There were no immediate reports of any loss of life or damage to property due to the earthquake.

More to follow…

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Health

NPPA steps in to cap price of Liquid Medical Oxygen and Medical Oxygen cylinders

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oxygen cylinder

New delhi: The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority of India is now capping price of Liquid Medical Oxygen and Medical Oxygen cylinders.

  1. The present situation of COVID-19 has resulted in increased demand of Medical Oxygen (MO) in the country and hence its availability is of utmost importance. Many of the States/UTs are dependent on the medical oxygen supply from other States/UTs.
  2. The demand of Medical Oxygen has gone up almost four times, from 750MT/day to 2800 MT/day. This has caused strain at all levels in the value chain of production and supply. The manufacturers of Medical Oxygen and Fillers have given representation to the Government for up to three fold price increase in the Ceiling Price of gaseous Medical Oxygen.
  3. The government is committed to uninterrupted supply of Medical Oxygen especially in the times of pandemic. Oxygen Inhalation (Medicinal Gas) is a scheduled formulation, covered under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). Its existing Ceiling Price fixed by NPPA is Rs. 17.49/CUM. However, due to absence of price cap on liquid medical oxygen, manufacturers have hiked prices to fillers. During COVID, supply of medical oxygen through cylinders has increased from 10% to around 50% of total consumption. Price regulation at this end is imperative for continued availability of medical oxygen across the country.
  4. The issue related to availability, including pricing of oxygen has been under the continued consideration of Empowered Group 2, GOI. The Empowered Group 2 has recommended NPPA to consider capping the ex-factory price of liquid oxygen in order to ensure its supply to fillers at reasonable prices. It has also requested NPPA to consider a cap for ex-factory price of oxygen in cylinders in order to ensure supply of oxygen cylinders from filler at reasonable prices.
  5. To deal effectively with the situation, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOH&FW), GOI has vide its letter dated 23.09.2020 conferred the delegation of powers under Section 10(2) (l) of Disaster Management Act, 2005 to NPPA to take all necessary steps to immediately regulate the availability and pricing of LMO and Medical Oxygen in cylinder.
  6. The Authority deliberated upon the matter in its extra ordinary meeting held on 25.09.2020. It has been decided to invoke extra-ordinary powers in public interest, under Para 19 of DPCO, 13 and under Section 10(20) (l) of Disaster Management Act, 2005 to deal with the emergent situation arising due to the pandemic. Accordingly it has been decided:

To cap the ex- factory price of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) at manufacturers end at Rs. 15.22/CUM exclusive of GST; and

To further cap the ex-factory cost of Medical Oxygen Cylinder at filler end at Rs. 25.71/CUM exclusive of GST in suppression of the existing Ceiling Price of Rs. 17.49/CUM, subject to transportation cost fixation at state level, for six months.

  1. The existing rate contracts of state governments for oxygen purchase, as applicable, shall continue, in consumer interest.

The ex-factory price cap of LMO and oxygen gas cylinders will be applicable to domestic production.

The above measures will ensure availability of medical oxygen at consumer end at reasonable price both at hospital level and through oxygen cylinders, especially to distant and interior districts.

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