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India closely following developments in Sri Lanka

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Raveesh Kumar

New Delhi, Oct 28 : India is closely following the political developments in Sri Lanka where President Maithripala Sirisena appointed his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister after ousting Ranil Wickremesinghe from the post, the External Affairs Ministry said on Sunday.

“India is closely following the recent political developments in Sri Lanka,” Ministry spokesman Raveeh Kumar said in response to queries from the media.

“As a democracy and a close friendly neighbour, we hope that democratic values and the constitutional process will be respected,” Kumar said.

“We will continue to extend our developmental assistance to the friendly people of Sri Lanka.”

Rajapaksa was appointed as the nation’s new Prime Minister by Sirisena on Friday night, shocking “ousted” leader Wickremesinghe and his United National Party (UNP).

The former President has secured a majority in the island’s 225-member Parliament and will continue to retain his job despite protests from the UNP, his party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) said in Colombo on Saturday.

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RBI asks HDFC Bank to temporarily stop issuing new credit cards

Furthermore, the filing said that these measures shall be considered for lifting upon satisfactory compliance with the major critical observations as identified by the RBI.

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HDFC Bank

The Reserve Bank has asked HDFC Bank to temporarily stop all launches of the ‘Digital Business generating activities and sourcing of new credit card customers.

The RBI’s order dated December 2 comes after outages in the bank’s online facilities or payment utilities occurred over the past 2 years, including the recent incident in the internet banking and payment system on November 21, 2020 due to a power failure in the primary data centre.

In a regulatory filing, HDFC Bank on Thursday said: “The RBI vide said ‘Order’ has advised the Bank to temporarily stop i) all launches of the Digital Business generating activities planned under its program – Digital 2.0 (to be launched) and other proposed business generating IT applications and (ii) sourcing of new credit card customers. In addition, the Order states that the Bank’s Board examines the lapses and fixes accountability.”

Furthermore, the filing said that these measures shall be considered for lifting upon satisfactory compliance with the major critical observations as identified by the RBI.

“The Bank over the last two years has taken several measures to fortify its IT systems and will continue to work swiftly to close out the balance and would continue to engage with the Regulator in this regard.

“The Bank has always endeavoured to provide seamless digital banking services to its customers. The Bank has been taking conscious, concrete steps to remedy the recent outages on its digital banking channels and assures its customers that it expects the current supervisory actions will have no impact on its existing credit cards, digital banking channels and existing operations.”

In addition, the bank said these measures will not materially impact its overall business.

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India

Board exams 2021: CISCE writes to all CMs to allow partial reopening of schools from January for classes 10 and 12

The Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has written to all chief ministers to allow schools to reopen partially from January onwards, especially for students of classes 10 and 12 who will be appearing for board exams.

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students in examination hall

The Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has written to all chief ministers to allow schools to reopen partially from January onwards, especially for students of classes 10 and 12 who will be appearing for board exams.

The council has also written to the Chief Election Commissioner of India to share the poll schedule of the states where elections are due in April and May so the datesheet for board exams can be finalised accordingly.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all schools have been closed from March 2020 till date. However, despite the closure, most of our schools have continued with the teaching and learning process in an online, offline or blended manner, as indicated by a survey conducted by CISCE on the status of online teaching, assessment and completion of syllabus,” said Gerry Arathoon, Chief Executive of CISCE.

“For the final run-up to the examinations, CISCE has requested the chief ministers of all state governments and UTs to allow schools to reopen partially, specifically for the students of classes 10 and 12 from January, 2021,” he said.

“With the students physically attending school, this time will be utilised for practical work, project work, SUPW work and for doubt clearing lessons. This will be extremely beneficial to the students who will now get the time to interact directly with their teachers,” he added.

Arathoon asserted that if allowed to reopen, the schools will be informed to follow the directives of the state government regarding COVID-19 and to conform to the safety guidelines and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the health department to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“CISCE has also requested the Chief Election Commissioner of India to share the election dates of the states that are due to have their elections in the months of April – May next year,” he said.

“This will enable CISCE to finalise the schedules for ICSE (Class 10) and ISC (Class 12) year 2021 examinations and to ensure that there are no clash of dates, interruption of the examinations or any inconvenience that may be faced by the candidates taking these examinations,” he added.

Schools across the country were closed in March to contain the spread of COVID-19 and partially reopened in some states from October 15. However, a few states decided to keep them closed in view of a spike in infections.

The board had to cancel its pending exams in March view of the spike in COVID-19 cases and the result was declared on the basis of an alternative assessment scheme.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) too is yet to take a decision on the schedule for conducting board exams next year. However, the board has ruled out conducting online exams and has clarified that the board exams will be in pen and paper mode only.

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Amit Shah-Amarinder Singh meet on farmers’ issue

The meeting started at Shah’s residence soon after the Punjab Chief Minister reached there, minutes before the fourth round of government and farmer representative meeting at Vigyan Bhawan began.

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Amarinder Singh Amit Shah

A crucial meeting started on Thursday noon between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here as the next round of talks between farmers and the Centre also got way.

The meeting started at Shah’s residence soon after the Punjab Chief Minister reached there, minutes before the fourth round of government and farmer representative meeting at Vigyan Bhawan began.

Amid the escalating farmers protest around Delhi, spearheaded by farmers from Punjab and Haryana, Shah and Amarinder Singh’s meeting is significant.

They were expected to discuss the issues plaguing the army of farmers around the national capital’s periphery.

Tens of thousands are perched along Delhi’s Singhu and Tikri borders since November 26. These farmers owe allegiance to over 32 farm unions and are huddled under an open sky at the onset of a long winter, refusing to budge until their demands are met.

The Singhu and Tikri borders, and also Chilla and Ghazipur ones have now been hosting these multitudes for over a week. Hundreds of farmers have almost blocked entry and exit out of the capital.

Shah and Punjab Chief Minister’s meeting took place after the Home Minister met Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal for about half-an-hour ahead of government and farmers’ representatives meet.

The fourth round of meeting with over 32 farmer leaders started at Vigyan Bhawan after the earlier talks remained inconclusive on December 1.

In the last meeting, the farmers’ representatives had unanimously turned down the Centre’s proposal of a special committee to thrash out the differences and resolve concerns over the farm laws.

A breakthrough was not expected in a single meeting, sources had said, in view of the government firmly standing by the laws it has called “historic reforms” in the farm sector.

The farmers though have hardened their stance, warning that if on Thursday “the last chance” for the government to take a decision on the laws was not taken the stir could intensify further.

In place of a committee, they have demanded a special session of parliament to repeal what they have called “black laws” made to favour corporates — which not entertained might lead to a chokehold across the nation, not just Delhi.

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