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Goa bankers to join nationwide strike on February 28

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Panaji, Feb 16: Bank employees in Goa would join the nationwide strike on February 28 against demonetisation and other “ill-conceived” reforms measures in the banking sector.

The costs incurred by banks due to the prolonged demonetisation exercise need to be reimbursed to banks by the central government, A.M. Pereira, General Secretary of the Goa Bank Employee’s Association, said in a statement on Thursday.

The government had ignored the “real menace” of the banking industry, which is the increasing quantum of bad loans, he said.

“The cost of demonetisation as well as the business loss during the demonetisation period of nearly two months will have a cascading effect on the balance sheets of the banks, the brunt of which would ultimately fall on the bank employees and officers alone.”

The association also said that the effort put in by the bank employees to make the demonetisation exercise work, was also not given due recognition.

“It is a pity that the day and night hard work and suffering of bank employees and officers are not given due recognition,” the statement quoting Pereira added.

“Officers were also made to work for long hours and on Sundays and holidays without compensation or with notional payment,” Pereira said.

“The whole country has so far witnessed that the method of evading repayment also is maximum done by the big and corporate borrowers. The economy of the country is affected. There is a need to fix accountability of those responsible for the bad loans. Criminal action against willful defaulters of bank loans can only reduce such types of irregularities in the banking industry.”

IANS

World

Pentagon to establish ‘Space Command’

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Washington, Dec 18: While the Space Force would need congressional approval but US President Donald Trump issued an order on Tuesday directing the establishment of a “Space Command.”

Vice President Pence announced on Tuesday that the White House had directed the Pentagon to form a Space Command, a significant step toward the administration’s ultimate goal of establishing a department known as the Space Force that would become the first new branch of the Armed Services since the Air Force was created in 1947.

Trump said the new command will be created as a “unified combatant command” that will oversee all US military activities in space, according to his memo to Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

The president has asked Mattis to recommend officers for the command’s leadership, the one-page memo said.

It added that a comprehensive list of authorities and responsibilities for the Space Command will be included in the next update to the Unified Command Plan.

Trump has been pushing to establish a Space Force by 2020, an idea that has been questioned by Pentagon officials and military experts worried about adding cost and bureaucracy.

 

Pence was speaking at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where he was to watch the launch of a SpaceX rocket with a military cargo.

 

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BJP candidate sent to jail for assaulting youth who voted for Congress candidate

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Bhopal, Dec 18 : Sudhir Yadav,BJP candidate from Surkhi assembly constituency of Sagar district in Madhya Pradesh,was sent to jail today under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

He had allegedly abused and physically assaulted a youth who voted for Congress candidate in the state assembly elections.Yadav is the son of BJP MP from Sagar Lok Sabha seat Laxmi Narayan Yadav, was booked by the AJK police station in Sagar under Sections 294, 323, 506 and 34 of IPC, besides different sections of the SC/ST Act for allegedly abusing and assaulting 22-year-old Dalit man Deepesh Ahirwar outside the polling booth in Berkhedi Sadak area of Surkhi assembly constituency on the polling day.

In the complaint submitted to the AJK police station , Ahirwar alleged that after exercising franchise in the polls on November 28, when he came out of the polling booth, the BJP candidate Sudhir Yadav was standing outside with his  supporters.”Yadav asked me who I had voted for and I told him that I voted for the Congress candidate. Hearing it the BJP candidate got infuriated and started abusing me and my caste. Yadav also thrashed me badly for voting the Congress candidate,” Ahirwar alleged in the complaint.

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All India Kisan Sabha to hold protests for loan waiver

AIKS will also extend its support to the protest march of ex-servicemen fighting for One Rank One Pension (OROP) on January 27.

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New Delhi, Dec 18 : Buoyed by the announcement of farm loan waiver by Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh governments, Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) on Tuesday said it will hold another round of protest in the rural parts of the country to press for a complete loan waiver across the country and guaranteed remunerative crop prices.AIKS will also extend its support to the protest march of ex-servicemen fighting for One Rank One Pension (OROP) on January 27.

AIKS General Secretary Hannan Mollah said that ‘rail roko’ and ‘rasta roko’ will be held in all villages to urge BJP-led central government to hike the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for agriculture commodities as per the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission and waive loans of all farmers in the country.

“The outcome of recently-concluded elections showed that farm crisis was one of the major issues. The Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have waived farm loan because of the protests this year,” he said addressing a press conference.

“We have decided to keep momentum going till Lok Sabha elections to get our demands fulfilled. As many as 106 organisations under the banner of Bhumi Adhikar Andolan will participate in the protest,” he said.

The planned protest would be separate from the ones being held by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) which represents over 200 farm outfits and the AIKS is also a part of it, Mollah added.

AIKS President Ashok Dhawale said Congress “showed no mercy to the farmers” by offering a loan waiver but farmers protests compelled it to do so.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has announced signing off the file on crop loan waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh as on March 30 this year.

Dhawale demanded the cut-off date be extended to December so as to make farmers, who have taken loan this year, free from the cycle of debt completely.

The AIKS leaders asked Congress governments to implement the loan waiver scheme without riders.

“Loan waiver scheme with conditions was a bad experience in BJP-led Maharashtra. In another BJP-ruled state of Uttar Pradesh, farmers received cheques of Re 1. So there should not be any condition,” Dhawale said.

Newly elected MLAs from Rajasthan, Girdhari Lal Mahiya and Balwan Pooniya, who contested on Communist Party of India’s (Marxist) tickets, said they would take up the cause with the government to make farmers in the state debt-free.

Pooniya said farmers were “looted” by the Modi government under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, a crop insurance scheme, as the premium was high but compensation was low.

Expressing concerns over Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that loan waiver was not a solution, Mahiya said “It is hypocrisy. We will have to confront the government in the Assembly and on the road.”

Reacting to the NITI Ayog’s remarks that loan waiver is no answer to the debt trap, Mollah said the premier institution had become a “chamcha” (sycophant) of the BJP government.

“It is good for nothing. It agrees with whatever the government says,” he said.

On former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan remarks over the loan waiver, Mollah said “We know that it is not a solution. However, farmers are under debt because of low remuneration. They have been incurring losses for so many years. Let there be one-time loan waiver along with an announcement of the MSP fixed on Swaminathan commission’s recommendations, farmers will not need a loan waiver again.”

AIKS leader said they would meet Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh over agrarian crisis in the country.

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