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Bharat Bandh: Transport, banking services likely to be affected

As several transport, bank unions are part of the strike, banking services are likely to be hit across the country.

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Farmers Protest

Over 25 crore workers are expected to participate in a nationwide strike on Thursday jointly called by 10 central unions protesting against various policies of the government. As several transport, bank unions are part of the strike, banking services are likely to be hit across the country.

Fewer autos and taxis might be on road today. The Uttar Pradesh government, meanwhile, has extended the Essential Services Maintenance Act, banning strikes in all departments and corporations under it for a period of another six months.

Here’s all you need to know:

Who are participating in the strike?

The ten central unions include Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC), Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and United Trade Union Congress (UTUC).

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) will not participate in the strike.

What are the demands?

Cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month to all non-income tax paying families and 10 kilograms free ration per person per month to all needy people.

Expansion of MGNREGA, the rural employment guarantee scheme, to provide 200 days’ work in a year in rural areas at enhanced wages and also extension of the employment guarantee to urban areas.

Withdrawal of all “anti-farmer laws and anti-worker labour codes. The demands also include stopping privatisation of public sector.

Pension to all, scrapping National Pension System and the restoration of the earlier pension system are also some of the demands.

Which services will be affected?

A number of services, including industries, banking, transport, are likely to be affected as the trade unions taking part in one-day strike encompasses a large number of sectors. Farmers, Scheme workers, domestic workers, construction workers, beedi workers, hawkers, vendors, agricultural workers, self-employed in rural and urban areas, auto and taxi drivers, railway, defence employees are also supposed to participate.

Will bank services be hit?

Yes as All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) and Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) are participating in the strike. Many lenders, including IDBI Bank and Bank of Maharashtra, in regulatory filings on Wednesday said their normal working could be affected at the branches and offices.

The “Lok Sabha in its recently held session has passed three new labour enactments by dismantling existing 27 enactments in the name of ‘Ease of Business’, which are purely in the interest of corporates.” In the process, 75 per cent of workers are being pushed out of the orbits of labour laws since they will have no legal protection under the new enactment,” the AIBEA said in a release. The association represents the majority of the banks, except State Bank of India (SBI) and Indian Overseas Bank. It has four lakh bank employees from various public and old private sectors and a few foreign banks as its members.

“If strike materialises, the normal functioning of the bank branches and offices is likely to be affected. The bank is taking all necessary steps to minimise the impact of strike so as to provide the normal banking services to its customers,” the Bank of Maharashtra said in a filing.

(With agency inputs)

India

PM must wake up to reality about poverty: Chidambaram

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chidambaram

A day after 15 migrant construction workers, including a child, were crushed to death by a truck in Gujarat’s Surat, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Wednesday slammed the Modi government at the Centre, saying it is time that the Prime Minister woke up to reality and not repeat the statistics about toilets, housing and open defection-free numbers fed by bureaucrats.

In a statement, Chidambaram said, “The tragedy of 15 migrant construction workers being run over and killed in Gujarat must open our eyes to the reality of poverty in India.”

Firing salvos at the government, former Finance Minister Chidambaram asked “why were the workers sleeping on the roadside? Is not the contractor obliged to provide them shelter near the construction site? Where do they wash, bathe, cook and keep their children? On the roadside in the open?”

“The Prime Minister must wake up to the reality and not repeat the ‘statistics’ about toilets, housing and ODF fed by bureaucrats,” he said.

His remarks came a day after at least 15 migrant labourers from Rajasthan, including a child sleeping near a road were crushed to death and six others injured by a speeding dumper truck in Surat.

The incident happened when the dumper truck lost control and ran over some 20 sugarcane farm labourers. Twelve were killed on the spot, one died while being shifted to hospital and two succumbed later during treatment while six others were being treated in hospital.

–IANS

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Leaking classified info act of ‘treason’: Cong on Arnab chat

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Arnab Goswami

Upping the ante against the government over journalist Arnab Goswami’s purported social media chat leak, the Congress on Wednesday described it as an act of “treason” and demanded an immediate inquiry over leaking of such classified information about the Balakot air strikes.

The Congress also said it will raise the issue of the alleged chat leaks in Parliament’s Budget session.

The Congress brought out several senior members of the party to corner the government over the issue with former Defence Minister A.K. Antony, former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Law Minister Salman Khurshid and party spokesperson Pawan Khera.

Addressing a press conference here at the party headquarters, Antony said, “The contents of the leaked chats between Goswami of Republic TV and the former CEO of BARC is a serious issue for the entire nation.”

Antony said that for a very patriotic Indian, it is a shock and a serious matter of concern because it affects national security.

The Congress leader said that it effects the security of armed forces, especially in this case, the security of brave air warriors. “And also in the way they (Goswami and BARC CEO) mentioned the martyrdom of 40 CRPF men is all a serious concern for us,” Antony said.

He said that the people of the country and the political parties might have differences on several issues but are united when it comes to national security cutting across the religious and party lines to protect the country.

“But now it is very clear that classified documents that too considering the national security and also considering the most sensitive secret air strikes were available with the people who were not expected to know it, and were not authorised to get these documents,” Antony said.

He said “I am very sad and shocked” over the leaked chats between Goswami and former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta and the language they used while mentioning the martyrdom of 40 CRPF troopers.

Firing salvos at the government, the Congress leader said, “Three days before the Balakot air strikes, how did one journalist come to know of the details of it? It would have effected the operation and its effectiveness.”

Only very few people are expected to be in the know of such secret information, to know the details of the military operations. “Even all the Cabinet ministers are not expected to get that as only a few handful of people and few military people are informed about such operations,” he said.

“These documents were leaked to the media, but not the entire media but to only one journalist by the people who were in top positions of the government,” he alleged.

“Leaking official secrets about the military operation, national security matters, sensitive military operations especially air force strike is treason and anti-national activity,” he alleged.

“It is not only criminal activity, it is anti-national activity and a treason. Whoever has done they must be punished for anti-national activities and treason,” he said.

Questioning the silence of the government over the issue, Antony said, “Even till today the government has not said anything on this. I am sure these anti-national activities or leakage of secret military operations was among the four or five civilian people. I don’t suspect anybody. But one of them is suspect. It needs to be enquired immediately on a war footing. And whoever is guilty should be punished for treason.”

He also said that the journalist who got such secret military operation details has to be punished.

“Urgently the government must order an enquiry. And whoever is responsible and whoever is part of the leakage of military operations should be shown no mercy and he has to be punished,” Antony said.

Shinde said that what Goswami has done is not just shameful for the country but also for journalism. “In last several years no media organisation or any journalist has done such act,” he said.

He said that the country has seen several wars and the governments of different parties, but such an act of leakage of official secrets was never witnessed.

“They were celebrating on Pulwama after our 40 CRPF troopers were killed in a terror attack,” the former Home Minister said, referring to the chats of Goswami and Partho Dasgupta.

On Tuesday, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had also slammed the government and said that leaking sensitive information related to national security to a journalist is a “criminal act” and persons behind this should be put in prison.

–IANS

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Leaking national secret to journalist is a criminal act: Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

New Delhi, Jan 19 : Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that leaking sensitive information related to the national secret of a planned attack to a journalist is a “criminal act” and persons behind this should be put in prison.

To a question about the alleged chats discussing the Balakot air strike after the February 14, 2019 Pulwama terror strike on CRPF convoy, Rahul Gandhi said, “Leaking of any sensitive information is a criminal act. This applies to the person who sends it and the person who receives it.”

He said that such a sensitive issue was a subject of national secret regarding a planned air strike which is only either with the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister, Union Defence Minister, Indian Air Force Chief and the National Security Advisor.

“I want to know who among the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Defence Minister or NSA leaked secret information to the journalist. This is a criminal act. If the journalist had such information on his WhatsApp, I assume the Pakistanis too had it,” he said.

He also said that by leaking such information to a journalist risked the IAF fighter jets and pilots and this was not an act of “patriotism”.

He also said for leaking such a classified information, the process of putting the people in prison should start.

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