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Farm bills govt’s conspiracy to defeat Green Revolution: Congress

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agriculture reforms bill

New Delhi, Sep 18 : Even as the Lok Sabha passed two of the contentious agriculture reforms bill, the Congress on Thursday upped its ante against the Narendra Modi government over the issue, terming it a conspiracy to defeat the Green Revolution.

Slamming the government, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said: “This government has been eyeing, how they can take the farmers’ land to benefit their capitalist friends, whether is the Land Acquisition Act, whether in the industrial system through weakening the labour courts and now this three-pronged attack on the Indian agricultural system through the two bills on farming – one related to APMC, the other one is related to contract farming and the third bill which is on essential commodities… a three-pronged attack on the Indian farmers.”

Noting the government says that this is a boon for farmers, he said: “Are farmers of India foolish that they don’t understand the bill. If this bill was in the benefit of Indian farmers, why are the farmers are out on the streets? Why are the farmers in Haryana being beaten by the police?”

Targeting the government, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Modi government is akin to Covid-19 pandemic as it is attacking lives and livelihoods of farmers.

“It is attacking farmers and farm labourers and was bartering agriculture at the doorsteps of crony capitalists,” he said.

“The draconian laws on agriculture will be a death knell for the future of farming in India,” he said, alleging that the BJP-led government is hell-bent upon destroying the farmer and was bartering the agriculture at the altar of a handful of crony capitalists.

Surjewala also claimed that 62 crore farmers and farm labourers have been agitating across India and over 250 farmers organisations are sitting on protest, on hunger strikes and are demonstrating across the length and breadth of India.

He accused the government of dictatorially subverting the “voice of farmers” representatives inside the Parliament and has unleashed a draconian “lathi-danda regime” on protesting farming community.

“The farmers and labourers will never forget the conspiracy of the Modi government to convert the disaster confronting the farmers into an opportunity for the capitalists under the garb of pandemic. The next generations of BJP will have to face the consequences of these anti-farmer misdeeds of the government,” Surjewala said.

Meanwhile, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the interest of farmers and farm labourers cannot be subjugated and be subservient to the “draconian majority” of the BJP in Parliament.

“The Congress shall continue to take on the dark design of a draconian, dictatorial and anti-farmer Modi government, both inside and outside the Parliament… We shall continue to voice the pain and suffering of teeming millions,” he said.

The Congress, along with many other opposition parties as well as NDA constituent Akali Dal, had been opposing the three farm Bills which were earlier brought in as Ordinances. All three – the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 – have been passed by the Lok Sabha.

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Rahul Gandhi keeps his word, gifts house to Kerala sisters who lost everything in landslide

K Kavya and Karthika were saved from nature’s fury last year as they were staying in a hostel and pursuing their studies. The girls had lost all their property and relatives. Gandhi had met them last year and promised them a new home.

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Rahul Gandhi Kavya and Karthika

Congress leader and former party chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday distributed keys of a newly built house to two sisters who lost all their relatives in Kavalapara landslide last year.

K Kavya and Karthika were saved from nature’s fury last year as they were staying in a hostel and pursuing their studies. Gandhi had met the girls last year and promised them a new home. The girls had lost all their property and relatives in the landslide last year, Gandhi’s promise to them was finally fulfilled a year later.

At least 59 people were killed when a portion of a mountain drifted in Kavalapara after heavy rainfall last year. Similarly, in Puthuamala in Wayanad, 17 people perished in another landslide during the same period.

On Monday, Gandhi began his three-day visit to his constituency in Wayanad in north Kerala. After arriving at Kozhikode international airport by a special flight, he participated in a weekly Covid-19 review meeting in Malappuram Collectorate.

Gandhi is visiting his constituency after nine months – his last visit was in January. Soon after the natural disaster that crippled the hilly district, he visited the accident spots.

“He will interact with selected leaders. All restrictions will be in place. The main focus of his visit is to review the pandemic situation in the constituency,” said Wayanad district Congress president IC Balakrishnan.

The District Congress Committee (DCC) said no public function was scheduled during the day due to restrictions. On Tuesday, Gandhi will attend a Covid-19 review meeting at Wayanad Collectorate and meet party leaders. He will also visit Mananthawady government hospital on Wednesday before leaving from Kannur airport, the DCC said.

Last week, there was a controversy after Wayanad district collector Dr Adeela Abdulla denied permission to inaugurate a new block of a state-run school built with his MP fund. The online function was cancelled by the district administration last minute, stating that the state government was not informed about it and that protocols were not met. The Congress had criticised the decision saying it was politically-motivated.

His presence in the last Lok Saha election had helped the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) sweep the state winning 19 out of 20 seats. It also helped curb factionalism in the state party unit. Kerala assembly elections are due in six months and going by the tradition of the state to show incumbent doors, the UDF is likely to storm back to power.

Though the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) and the Congress are in good terms in national politics, in Kerala they are sworn enemies. During the last Lok Sabha election, Gandhi did not attack the CPI(M) in the state and used his firepower to attack the BJP, a distant third-runner in the state.

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‘Resolve to restore Jammu and Kashmir’s special status will continue’: Farooq Abdullah after ED questioning

The ED had earlier questioned Abdullah in July in connection with the case, and his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

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Farooq Abdullah

After being questioned for nearly seven hours by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a case linked to alleged financial irregularities in the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association, National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Monday said the resolve for restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir would continue.

The 82-year-old National Conference president was questioned at the agency’s regional office at Raj Bagh. “Remember one thing, we have a long way to go. This is a long fight. Our struggle will go on whether Farooq Abdullah is alive or Farooq Abdullah is dead…Our resolve has not changed and our resolve will not change even if I were to be hanged,” PTI quoted Abdullah as saying.

The NC chief, however, refused to divulge any details on the proceedings, saying the matter would be decided in court. “I am not worried, why are you worried? The only regret I have is that I could not have my lunch,” a visibly irritated Abdullah told reporters.

The questioning comes two days after the formation of a joint alliance by NC, PDP and other mainstream Kashmir-based politicians — formally named ‘People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration’ — seeking “restoration” of the erstwhile state’s special position before August 5, 2019.

Several constituents of the newly formed People’s Alliance described Abdullah being summoned by the ED as a “witch hunt” and “political vendetta” by the Centre.

The ED had earlier questioned Abdullah in July in connection with the case, and his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It had filed a money laundering case after taking cognizance of a CBI FIR and chargesheet.

The chargesheet was filed in July last year against Abdullah and three others for allegedly misappropriating over Rs 43 crore from grants given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) for promoting the sport in the state between 2002-11.

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“How To Destroy An Economy”: Rahul Gandhi’s Latest Swipe At Government

Kaushik Basu, who served as Chief Economic Adviser to the Finance Ministry, tweeted a warning to the centre: “Don’t be in data denial… take corrective action…”

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

New Delhi: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi this afternoon cited figures collated by renowned economist Kaushik Basu – which project India’s GDP as contracting the most among a selection of 11 Asian nations, including China – to take yet another swipe at the government.

“How to completely destroy an economy and infect the maximum number of people really quickly,” Mr Gandhi tweeted, with a data table showing projected GDP growth (for 2020) for 11 Asian countries and the number of coronavirus-related deaths (per million) for each.

India, with a projected GDP contraction of 10.3 per cent (according to a IMF report released ealier last week) and 83 Covid-related deaths per million, is at the bottom of a list that includes China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in a report released last Tuesday, said it expected India’s economy to shrink by 10.3 per cent – a huge downward revision from its June prediction for a government under pressure over its handling of the pandemic and the economic fallout.

Kaushik Basu, who served as Chief Economic Adviser to the Finance Ministry, tweeted another warning today: “Don’t be in data denial. Mistakes happen-admit & take corrective action…”

In August the government said India’s GDP had contracted by 23.9 per cent – much worse than expected – in April-June, as the pandemic brought key industries to a halt and left millions jobless.

Mr Gandhi tore into that revelation, accusing the government of ignoring repeated warnings from experts on the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic had affected the economy

The government has since claimed a recovery of sorts – on both fronts.

Earlier this month the Finance Ministry said “demand resurgence is palpable in many sectors” and yesterday a government-appointed committee said the country had crossed the coronavirus peak.

One of the points claimed by the committee was that the early lockdown, which triggered the economic problems – had significantly helped reduce the number of deaths due to the virus.

Meanwhile, apart from highlighting a potentially difficult 2020 for India’s GDP (something several economists and reports have already flagged), the IMF report triggered another row when it suggested that India’s per capita GDP is set to drop below that of Bangladesh.

Rahul Gandhi pounced on that as well, tweeting: “Solid achievement of 6 years of BJP’s hate-filled cultural nationalism. Bangladesh set to overtake India”.

Shortly after that government sources issued a clarification, claiming that in terms of purchasing power parity – a measure of GDP that accounts for relative differences between countries – India’s per capita GDP in 2019 was actually 11 times higher than that of Bangladesh.

China, which according to the data sheet shared first by Mr Basu and then Mr Gandhi, is projected to record positive GDP growth – 1.9 per cent – this year.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, is to record an impressive 3.8 per cent GDP growth for 2020.

This afternoon China released its July-September GDP figures and said its economy had grown by 4.9 per cent – the same as last year and only marginally below the expected 5.2 per cent.

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