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BJP trying to divide Bengal on NRC, CAB: Mamata

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Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata, Nov 19 : Ruling out any scope for the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) or any National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday accused the BJP, without naming it, of trying to divide the people of the state on the twin issues.

Speaking at an administrative meeting in north Bengal’s South Dinajpur district, Banerjee said that CAB will make those coming under the provision a foreigner for six years before a final decision is taken on their citizenship rights.

“The Citizenship Amendment Bill has provisions that will make you a foreigner for six years. Just imagine, today you have citizenship, you have all the documents and you are a voter. Now, from being an Indian, you will suddenly become a foreigner for six years. Then it will be decided whether you are a citizen of this country,” Banerjee said.

The CAB provides for granting Indian citizenship to minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after an aggregate period of residence or service of a government in India for “not less than six years”.

The Chief Minister said that people should not worry about NRC or CAB, as neither will become a reality in West Bengal.

“There will neither be CAB, nor NRC. So don’t worry. Despite that, I must tell you that all of you are Indian citizens. There is not a single person who is not a citizen — irrespective of whether you are a Rajbanshi, Santhal, Hindu or Muslim, Bengali or Gokha.

“Whoever lives in Bengal, has a ration card, who run their own business or do some other work, or whose children study in schools or whoever receives benefits of government schemes, you are all citizens,” she said.

In an apparent reference to the BJP, Banerjee said ‘some people’ were trying to break the age-old amity between communities.

“At some places, they are saying only Rajbanshis would be beneficiaries of CAB, not Bengalis. In this way, they are trying to drive a wedge between Rajbanshis and Bengalis.

“At some other places, they are trying to divide Bengalis who came as refugees, and others who have been living here for generations. Similarly, attempts are being made to divide Hindus and Muslims, and Muslims and Christians,” the Chief Minister said.

Describing the entire matter as a ‘big farce’, she urged people not to believe in such propaganda. “Unity in diversity is a salient feature of West Bengal. If anybody tries to spread misinformation, don’t panic,” she said.

Disaster

As India inches towards 2 million cases, Harsh Vardhan says, coronavirus spread contained in country

Speaking at a virtual meeting of WHO’s Regional Director, South East Asia, with Health Ministers from the region, the health minister also alluded to efficacy of the govt’s containment strategy

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Harsh Vardhan

India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday asserted that the spread of coronavirus has been contained in the country, citing how half the total cases are from three states only and another 30 per cent from seven others.

His remarks come as the country is inching towards the grim mark of two million cases. It has already logged over 40,000 deaths and is recording more than 50,000 daily cases since the past few days.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of WHO’s Regional Director, South East Asia, Poonam Khetrapal Singh with Health Ministers from the region on maintaining essential health services and public health programmes in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, Harsh Vardhan alluded to the efficacy of the government’s containment strategy.

“The strategy has been successful in that 50 per cent of the cases are from three states and 32 per cent of the rest are from seven states. The spread of the virus thus has been contained.”

The Minister said that the lockdown was effective in slowing down the rate of growth of cases and gave the government time to augment the health infrastructure and testing facilities.

“From one lab in January, India has 1,370 labs today. Indians anywhere can access a lab within three hours travel time. 33 of the 36 states and UTs (Union Territories) exceed WHO’s recommendation of testing 140 people per million per day.”

Harsh Vardhan also said that the country was “preparing for the pandemic as soon as China informed the World Health Organisation on January 7”, over three weeks before the first case emerged.

India had reported its first coronavirus case on January 30 when a student from Kerala, who was studying in China’s Wuhan University, came back to India and tested positive for the deadly virus.

Harsh Vardhan also stressed that earlier viral outbreaks like the Avian Influenza, H1N1, Zika and Nipah had provided institutional memory in designing containment and management strategies.

“India’s proactive and graded multi-level institutional response to Covid-19 made it possible to have very low cases per million and deaths per million in spite of having a high population density, and low fractional GDP spending, per capita doctor, and hospital bed availability as compared to other developed countries,” he contended.

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Cities

Couple Found Dead In Lucknow Hotel

Girl’s family had filed a complaint at the Sarojini Nagar police station, alleging that the girl had been lured away by Rahul.

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Couple Died in Lucknow

Lucknow: A young couple was found inside a hotel in Krishna Nagar in the Uttar Pradesh capital. No suicide note has been recovered.

According to ACP Deepak Kumar, the staff of the hotel informed the police about the couple after they discovered their bodies in one of their rooms.

The girl has been identified as Nancy while the boy is Rahul. Nancy’s body was found on the bed while Rahul’s was found hanging from a hook in the ceiling.

Nancy’s family had filed a complaint at the Sarojini Nagar police station, alleging that the girl had been lured away by Rahul.

The identification was done by respective families after which the bodies were sent for post mortem.

A forensic team was called to collect samples from the spot.

“We are interrogating the two families and also the hotel staff. We have learnt that Nancy and Rahul knew each other since the past four years,” the ACP said.

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Business

Real GDP growth to remain negative in H1, full fiscal: RBI Gov Shaktikanta Das

RBI MPC meet: More protracted spread of the pandemic, deviations from the forecast of a normal monsoon, and global financial market volatility are the key downside risks, said Das

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National debt under Modi govt surges
  • Covid-19 impact: India’s GDP to contract 6.1% in FY21, says Nomura
  • Coronavirus crisis: Banks should raise capital proactively, says RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das
  • Rising real lending rates causing steep slump in credit flows, GDP

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the real GDP growth of the country is expected to remain in the contraction zone. “Real GDP in the first half of the year is expected to remain in the contraction zone.

For the year 2021 as a whole real GDP growth is also estimated to be negative,” said Governor Das during the MPC presser on Thursday.

Das said that in case of an early containment of the COVID-19 spread, there could be an upside to the outlook. “More protracted spread of the pandemic, deviations from the forecast of a normal monsoon, and global financial market volatility are the key downside risks,” he added.

“As regards the outlook for growth, the MPC noted that the recovery of the rural economy is expected to be robust, buoyed by the progress in kharif sowing. Manufacturing firms expect domestic demand to recover gradually from Q2 and to sustain through Q1 2021-22. On the other hand, consumer confidence turned more pessimistic in July relative to the preceding round of the Reserve Bank’s survey. External demand is expected to remain anaemic under the weight of the global recession and 5 contractions in global trade,” Das stated.

He said that the MPC has noted that in such an environment of unprecedented stress, supporting recovery of the economy would assume primacy in the conduct of the monetary policy. “While the space for further monetary policy is available, it is important to use it judiciously to maximise the beneficial effects on the underlying economy,” Das highlighted.

Das said there were signs of recovery across the world. “Monetary Policy Committee noted that in India too, economic activity had started to recover, but surges of fresh infections have forced fresh lockdowns, hence several high-frequency indicators have levelled off,” he added.

Additionally, the MPC putting all debates to rest, left the repo rate unchanged at 4 per cent and would maintain an accommodative stance.

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