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India, Sri Lanka begin joint naval military drill in Bay of Bengal

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New Delhi, Sep 10 India and Sri Lanka on Tuesday began joint naval military exercises in the Bay of Bengal off the Vizag port in Andhra Pradesh.

Four naval ships from both countries which are participating in the exercise began co-ordinated maritime operations in the ‘sea phase’ of the exercise. Prior to the sea phase, the Navies had engaged in professional interactions, training activities, cultural events and sporting exchanges, in a ‘harbour phase’, for three days at the Vizag port.

The six-day joint exercise SLINEX 2019 had formally commenced on September 7 at the Vizag port.

From Tuesday onwards, the four ships and their crew will participate in drills including aircraft tracking, cross-deck flying, gun firing, visit board search and seizure procedures, underway replenishment and navigational manoeuvres in the sea.

Sri Lanka has sent SLNS Sindhurala, an advanced offshore patrol vessel which had been constructed by India’s state-run defence firm Goa Shipyards, and SLNS Suranimala, a fast missile vessel to the Vizag port for the exercise.

The Indian Navy is being represented by the missile corvette INS Khukri and the Naval offshore patrol vessel INS Sumedha. India has also deputed integral helicopters in addition to shore-based maritime patrol aircraft in the event.

India

Celebrate Mahashivratri in true brotherhood: Punjab CM

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, Feb 21 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday extended greetings to the people on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri with a call to celebrate the festival in the true spirit of brotherhood and harmony.

In his message, Amarinder Singh called upon the people to follow the ideology promoted by Lord Shiva to destroy all evil forces of divisiveness and hated, which are detrimental to the nation’s social fabric.

“May this auspicious occasion inspire noble thoughts of love, affection, amity and brotherhood amongst all of us,” said the Chief Minister in a statement.

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India

Modi, Shah can’t always help, RSS cautions BJP

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Modi and Amit Shah

New Delhi, Feb 20 : “A bad candidate cannot claim a premium just because the party he belongs to is good. An evil is an evil…” This commentary on BJP is not by any opposition leader but from within.

RSS’ English language mouthpiece ‘Organiser’ has come up with a scathing observation, quoting Deendayal Upadhyaya, on the BJP, it’s Delhi unit and the candidates who were launched in the poll fray in the aftermath of a humiliating loss in the national capital.

In a no-nonsense approach, the author asserted that the BJP as an organisation needs to understand that Amit Shah and Narendra Modi “cannot always help out”.

“Narendra Modi and Amit Shah cannot always help out in the Assembly level elections and there is no option but to rebuild the organisation in Delhi to address the local aspirations,” read the article.

The article titled ‘Delhi’s Divergent Mandate’ authored by its editor Prafulla Ketkar called for understanding the “context of city-state voting behaviour” in Delhi. The article says the answer lies in the changing character of aspirational Delhi.

Stating that the ‘Shaheen Bagh narrative’ failed for the BJP because Arvind Kejriwal steered clear of it. But taking a dig at the saffron avatar of Kejriwal, the author subtly asks BJP to keep a watch on him. He asks, “This genie of Muslim fundamentalism experimented under the pretext of CAA may create a new testing ground for Kejriwal. How does Kejriwal respond to this danger? How far was his chanting of Hanuman Chalisa genuine?”

It was reported earlier that both the Sangh and VHP are content with the Hindu-centric politics that forced Kejriwal to adapt to the changing trend. But Ketkar is apprehensive that it’s not ‘genuine’ side of the AAP.

He sent out a clear message to the Delhi unit: you failed. The apparent failure of BJP to revitalise the organisational structure at the grassroots level after 2015 was recognised as one of the prominent reasons for the poll debacle in which BJP secured just eight seats as AAP swept to power with 62 seats.A

After the defeat, the BJP went into multiple huddles — one with general secretaries, another in which Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari was quizzed by party chief J.P. Nadda and General Secretary (Organisation) B.L. Santosh and several others.

While the Delhi unit has blamed it on Congress giving it up, thus making it easy for the Aam Aadmi Party, the central BJP blames the faction-ridden Delhi unit as well. This is one of the reasons why the party refused to project any chief ministerial face ahead of the polls.

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Cities

No-Bag Day on Saturdays for Rajasthan students

The Chief Minister also announced Rs 100 crore for setting up a ‘Tourism Development Fund’ and said that the policy for ‘ease of travelling in Rajasthan’ will be pursued.

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Students School Bags

Jaipur, Feb 20 : Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday announced a ‘No-Bag Day’ on Saturdays for students of government schools across the state.

Delivering his customary speech during the presentation of the state Budget in the Assembly, he said that though there would be no studies on the said day, activities related to happiness therapy, literature and culture, sports, personality development, moral values, scout, tips to stay healthy etc shall be organised for the students.

Also, parent-teacher meetings would be held on Saturdays to enable the school teachers update the parents on their wards’ academic performance, the Chief Minister added.

Gehlot also announced huge funds for sportspersons in Rajasthan. Those winning gold medals in the Olympics will henceforth get Rs 3 crore from the state government, compared with Rs 75 lakh earlier. Silver medallists will get Rs 2 crore against Rs 50 lakh earlier and bronze medallists Rs 1 crore against Rs 30 lakh earlier.

Asian Games gold medallists will now get Rs 1 crore, silver winners Rs 60 lakh and bronze medallists Rs 30 lakh as compared to Rs 30 lakh, Rs 20 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively earlier on. As many as 500 coaches will be appointed on contractual basis to nurture sports talent in the desert state.

The Chief Minister also announced Rs 100 crore for setting up a ‘Tourism Development Fund’ and said that the policy for ‘ease of travelling in Rajasthan’ will be pursued.

Another important Budget proposal was that those injured in an accident in Rajasthan can’t be denied treatment by private hospitals. It would be mandatory for these hospitals to attend to injured patients or else action would be taken against the erring institute, Gehlot said, adding that a law would be formulated in this regard, if need be.

Gehlot announced seven resolutions of his government — Nirogi Rajasthan; Sampann Kissan; Mahila, Bal and Vridhh Kalyan; Saksham Mazdoor, Chhatra Yuva Javan; Shiksha ka Paridhan; Pani, Bijli aur Sadkon ka Maan; and Kaushal and Takneek Pradhan.

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