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Budget session 2018 : Highlights of the day

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New Delhi, Feb 7: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday replied in both the houses of Parliament to the Motion of Thanks on President’s address. 

Modi thanked President Ram Nath for his address. He said honourable President does not belong to any party. It is about the aspirations of every Indian.

After a reply by Prime Minister Narendra Modi the Lok Sabha passed a motion of Thanks to the President’s Speech.

The Prime Minister’s speech came two days after BJP president Amit Shah made his debut speech in the Rajya Sabha and highlighted several initiatives of the Central government.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had issued a whip to its Lok Sabha MPs to remain present in the Parliament on February 7 and 8.

Ahead of proceedings, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad served a zero hour notice in the Rajya Sabha over deteriorating security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

While members of TDP and YSR MP’s continued their protests in Parliament premises today also over the demand of special status to Andhra Pradesh and other issues.

On the other hand, Members of TMC protest at Mahatma Gandhi statue against the hike in prices of diesel and petrol and withdrawal of Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill.

Updates: 

Lok Sabha: 

After PM’s address, the house continued its general debate on Budget.

Modi said the NDA Government has changed the work culture in the nation. Projects are not only thought about well but also executed in a timely manner… The NDA government is building more roads than the previous one. We have given a strong boost to the infrastructure sector across the nation.

“Our government had the opportunity to prepare an aviation policy that focuses on smaller cities, towns so that more Indians can fly. A government that talked about 21st century could not bring an aviation policy. Then what kind of a 21st century did they talk about, the one with bullock carts?”

He accused Opposition of dividing India and said his party is still paying for it. Meanwhile, the opposition continued to create the ruckus. Raised slogans of  ‘jhutha bhashan bandh karo’, ‘jhuthe ashwasan bandh karo’.

Speaking about the middle-class, the Prime Minister said “Our govt is giving wings to aspirations of India’s middle class”.

‘I can see the energy and enthusiasm in our youth. They want to do something on their own, they want to launch their own start-ups. Our Government is giving wings to the aspirations of India’s middle class, he asserted.

“Employment is increasing but you (opposition) have closed your eyes as you are busy singing your songs,” he added.

After the Question Hour ended, Prime Minister Narendra Modi commenced his speech on thanking the President’s address.

Has the government taken any course correction in major schemes? NITI Aayog reviews the schemes periodically and we incorporate the changes, the government says, Shetty said.

Mumbai MP, Gopal Shetty asked what is the logic behind sharing of expenses between states and Central government while implementing big schemes like Swacch Bharat. Responding to this, the minister stated the ratio varies from state to state.

Statistics Minister Sadananda Gowda answered questions pertaining to revised estimates of GDP. Gowda said Goa and Delhi are in top for per capita income. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are in the bottom of the table.

The session began with Question Hour. Members asked questions on BSNL connectivity. Meanwhile,  Andhra Pradesh MPs raised slogans demanding special category status to their State.

Rajya Sabha:

The House adjourned for the day after TDP members refuse to withdraw their protest over fund allocation to Andhra Pradesh in the Budget

TDP leader CM Ramesh marshalled out of Rajya Sabha under rule 255.

On the other hand, TMC MPs staged a walkout from the house soon after PM Modi began his address.

Meanwhile, Congress MP and former defence minister AK Antony said One Rank One Pension was taken by the UPA government and not NDA.

On modernisation of farming, the Prime Minister said, “We understand that there is now smaller holdings of land. For 90 years, bamboo has been categorised as tree, when in the whole world it is categorised as grass. Because it is categorised as tree, no one can cut it causing huge loss to farmers. The world is now moving to eco-friendly methods and making honey-bee farming will be a widely lucrative option for future. It is a value-addition farming technique. We should work together towards this, the Indian Express quoted.

He said Aadhaar was the brainchild of former PM Vajpayee.

After this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started his address by attacking Congress for comparing the development model of US and UK with that of India.

“They don’t want to hear the opposition or be answerable to any questions. All they talk about is new schemes that will only yield result by 2022. Has the BJP forgotten maths? You are answerable in 2019. Who will report to the people in 2022 only time will tell,” Sharma stated.

In a scathing attack, the Congress leader said that the ruling party doesn’t want to hear opposition.

“I am amazed that PM Modi targetted the Congress party in his one-hour long speech. It is required of the government that it does insult the contributions made by scientists, doctors and other people. Let me remind PM Modi that under Nehru ji’s regime five IITs were established,” Sharma asserted.

Congress leader Anand Sharma hit out at PM Modi for attacking Congress.

He said the BJP failed to keep up to its promises on black money, employment, farmers’ loans.

“BJP has played a cruel joke on the farmers of UP by giving them Rs 1 to Rs 2 loan waiver…You said you will put Rs 15 lakh in everyone’s account, but did not put even Rs 15.

“BJP cheated the traders, farmers, and the youth of this country.

“Under Sangh’s shameless government’s rule, people are dying of hunger,” he added.

Singh also took a jibe at the Prime Minister’s long speeches, saying, “Indian government would stand first if there was an International competition of speeches.”

Singh also used the platform to raise the issue of sealing drive in the national capital and asked the reason behind the Centre’s “animosity” against the AAP-led Delhi government.

“It took huge efforts to get this country’s independence, its Constitution, but democracy today is in danger. Governments that came to power with overwhelming majority — be it West Bengal or Delhi — are not being allowed to function.”

Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s harsh remark for Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal suggesting that he join the Maoist movement in the forests, Singh said the public is the decider and it voted Kejriwal to power with an “overwhelming majority” of 67 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.

In his maiden, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said India’s democracy is in danger.

Speaking on Simultaneous elections, KTS Tulsi said India has a parliamentary democracy and that the proposal for simultaneous elections would not work with its federal structure as it would require modification of the entire constitution which is just not possible.

On the suggestion of Naresh Agrawal Chairman skipped the question hour as the Prime Minister had to reply in the House.

Rajani Patel asked when the 33 per cent reservation for women be implemented?

Sanjay Singh, AAP MP, raised the issue of sealing in Delhi.

Over 400 people have lost their lives in the last few years. Not a single person is not punished, he says. Many members associate with him, he said.

Manish Gupta of Trinamool Congress raised the issue of continuance of manual scavenging despite a law banning it.

Meanwhile, another Congress MP Vivek Tankha said the situation in J&K should be dealt with urgently as the internally displaced refugees such as Kashmiri Pandits also want to return.

An Andhra MP showed placard in Rajya Sabha too. Azad says Congress does not approve the behaviour of the members.

Azad urged the government to remain alert while dealing with such situation, saying such incidents should not be repeated in future.

The former Chief Minister calling the incident as “unfortunate”, demanded a full-fledged discussion over the security situation in the valley.

Terming Hunzullah’s escape “the first such incident in last 20 years, Azad said: “Such instances used to happen in 1990s.”

“There was mistake on part of the state government because such a terrorist was being taken to hospital without proper security arrangements,” Azad said.

“On Tuesday a Pakistani LeT terrorist escaped when he was being taken to the S.M.H.S hospital for a medical check up from Srinagar Central Jail in the morning,” he asserted.

I have been reiterating that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is its worst, he stated.

the escape of Naveed Jat alias Abu Hunzullah from the S.M.H.S hospital on Tuesday, “doesn’t reflect good” on the state or the nation

“Yesterday’s incident is very unfortunate”, he said.

The leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raised Srinagar attack. He suggested the House should have a discussion during the Budget session.

The House began with Zero hour.

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India

Mr PM stop robbing public, be self reliant, says Rahul Gandhi

Mr Prime Minister, Quit robbing the public, Stop giving money to your friends, Be Self-Reliant, tweeted Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

Mr Prime Minister,
Quit robbing the public,
Stop giving money to your friends,
Be Self-Reliant, tweeted Rahul Gandhi.

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India

India, US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security: Pompeo in New Delhi

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in the national capital said that India and the US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security in the Indian subcontinent and the Indo-Pacific

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mike pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in the national capital said that India and the US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security in the Indian subcontinent and the Indo-Pacific.

Speaking at the third India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi, amidst the ongoing face-off between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Pompeo discussed several issues from “cooperating on defeating the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom, to promoting peace and stability throughout the region”.

As per an official statement of the US government, Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar at the meeting raised the issue of security threat India is facing from China. “In the area of defence we are challenged by reckless aggression on our northern borders,” he said at the bilateral dialogue.

The meeting assumes significance because the US secretaries of the Trump administration travelled to New Delhi amidst Coronavirus pandemic even as an intense ongoing campaigning for the Presidential elections due on November 3 was underway in the US.

“Our friendship and commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific was clearly, clearly highly on display when we were in Tokyo this past week and a half for the Quad meeting that Minister Jaishankar and I had with our Australian and Japanese friends earlier this month,” Pompeo told his counterpart.

The US secretary of state said, “Today is real opportunity for two great democracies like ours to grow closer, as I said on my trip to India last year when I called for a new age of ambition in our relationship. I think we’ve delivered on that over this past year. There is much more work to do for sure.”

Together, India and the US are building a better future for “our people based on our shared set of values and our cultures, our defence ties, our scientific collaboration, and mutual prosperity. I thank you for your leadership to each of you to build what ought to be a defining partnership of democracies in the 21st century,” he added.

Jaishankar, at the 2+2 Dialogue said that as the global economy has taken a massive hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian government has to quickly make up for the losses as economic downturn will have both domestic and external consequences.

According to the US Department of State statement, Secretary of Defence Mark T. Esper, at the meeting with his counterpart Defence Minister Rajnath Singh pointed out that Tuesday marked the 15th anniversary of the first US-India Defence framework.

“We have strengthened our defence and security partnership considerably since then, especially over the past year, during which we advanced our regional security, military-to-military, and information-sharing cooperation. Our focus now must be on institutionalizing and regularizing our cooperation to meet the challenges of the day and uphold the principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific well into the future,” he said.

The two sides discussed key opportunities to expand their efforts on “regional security concerns” and to advance their “defence priorities”, to include increasing information sharing and mutual logistics operations between their militaries.

Jaishankar in his remarks said that at a time when it is particularly important to uphold a rules-based international order, the ability of India and the US to work closely in defence and foreign policy has a larger resonance. “Together we can make a real difference when it comes to regional and global challenges, whether it is in respecting territorial integrity, promoting maritime domain awareness, counterterrorism, or creating prosperity,” he added.

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Health

Air pollution ups COVID-19 deaths by 15% worldwide: Study

In a major global study, researchers have revealed that long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to 15 per cent of COVID-19 deaths worldwide

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Delhi Pollution

In a major global study, researchers have revealed that long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to 15 per cent of COVID-19 deaths worldwide.

According to the study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Research, in Europe the proportion was about 19 per cent, in North America it was 17 per cent, and in East Asia about 27 per cent.

“Since the numbers of deaths from COVID-19 are increasing all the time, it’s not possible to give exact or final numbers of COVID-19 deaths per country that can be attributed to air pollution,” said study author Jos Lelieveld from Max Planck Institute in Germany.

“However, as an example, in the UK there have been over 44,000 coronavirus deaths and we estimate that the fraction attributable to air pollution is 14 per cent, meaning that more than 6,100 deaths could be attributed to air pollution,” Lelieveld added.

The researchers used epidemiological data from the previous US and Chinese studies of air pollution and COVID-19 and the SARS outbreak in 2003, supported by additional data from Italy.

They combined this with satellite data showing global exposure to polluting fine particles known as ‘particulate matter’ that is less than or equal to 2.5 microns in diameter (known as PM2.5) to create a model to calculate the fraction of coronavirus deaths that could be attributable to long-term exposure to PM2.5.

The results are based on epidemiological data collected up the third week in June 2020 and the researchers said that a comprehensive evaluation will need to follow after the pandemic has subsided.

Estimates for individual countries show, for example, that air pollution contributed to 29 per cent of coronavirus deaths in the Czech Republic, 27 per cent in China, 26 per cent in Germany, 22 per cent in Switzerland, 21 per cent in Belgium, 19 per cent in The Netherlands, 15 per cent in Italy and 14 per cent in the UK.

Referring to previous work that suggests that the fine particulates in air pollution may prolong the atmospheric lifetime of infectious viruses and help them to infect more people. Lelieveld said: “It’s likely that particulate matter plays a role in ‘super-spreading events’ by favouring transmission.”

According to the researchers, the particulate matter seems to increase the activity of a receptor on cell surfaces, called ACE-2, that is known to be involved in the way COVID-19 infects cells.

“So, we have a ‘double hit’: air pollution damages the lungs and increases the activity of ACE-2, which in turn leads to enhanced uptake of the virus by the lungs and probably by the blood vessels and the heart,” the authors wrote.

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