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Keeping out of RECP ‘backward leap’ for India: Anand Sharma

However, the Congress had raised concern over joining the RCEP, set to become the world’s largest trading body of 15 nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Anand Sharma

New Delhi: India’s decision to stay out of the transnational economic grouping RECP was “ill-advised” and a “backward” step, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said on Tuesday.

“India’s decision of not joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is unfortunate and ill-advised. It is in India’s strategic and economic interests to be a part of the process of Asia-Pacific integration.

“Withdrawal has negated years of persuasive negotiations for India to be accepted as part of RCEP. We could have negotiated safeguards to protect our interests. Keeping out of the RCEP is a backward leap,” said Sharma, who was Commerce Minister in the UPA government.

Sharma’s statement comes after former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram criticised the Modi’s government stand on RCEP but said that he will reserve his decision till the Congress takes official position on the issue.

Chidambaram had also expressed his dismay over the speech by Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar on Monday, where he railed against trade agreements and praised the virtues of protectionism.

“Mr Jaishankar is speaking in the language and in the words that I heard in the 1970s and 1980s,” Chidambaram said.

“There are pros and cons to India joining the RCEP. But the debate has never taken place in Parliament or among the people or involving the opposition parties. It is another bad example of a centralised decision-making unacceptable in a democracy,” he added.

However, the Congress had raised concern over joining the RCEP, set to become the world’s largest trading body of 15 nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

After eight years of hard negotiations, the ASEAN nations (comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) signed the trade pact with five FTA partners — China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand — on Sunday.

India

Centre convenes all-party meet on Jan 30 ahead of Budget session

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Parliament

The Modi government has called an all-party meeting on January 30 to hold discussions ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament on February 1.

The Centre has invited leaders of all political parties in both the Houses to the proposed meeting slated to begin at 11.30 am through videoconference. Sources said the National Democratic Alliance parties too will meet on the same day.

Parliament’s Budget session will be held in two phseses amid all precautions against coronavirus — from January 29 to February 15, and from March 8 to April 8.

The all-party meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP’s Rajya Sabha leader Thawarchand Gehlot, Deputy Leader Piyush Goyal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muralitharan.The one-hour Question Hour has been restored in the Budget session, which was suspended during the Monsoon session in September 2020 during corona pandemic.Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Tuesday that corona tests for members att

ending the Parliament session will be mandatory.

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India

Right to salary a fundamental right: Delhi HC

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Delhi High Court

New Delhi, Jan 20 : The Delhi High Court has pulled up the municipal corporations for the non-payment of salaries and pensions to their employees, noting that paucity of funds cannot be an excuse and that right to receive pay is a fundamental right enshrined under the Constitution of India.

A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was hearing a batch of petitions in relation to the non-payment of salaries and pensions to the employees of Delhi municipal corporations, particularly North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NrDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

“Reason assigned for non-payment of timely salaries is stated to be paucity of funds which, as is well settled, cannot be an excuse for non-payment, keeping in view the fact that the right to receive salary and pension is a fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of Constitution and non-payment would have direct bearing on quality of life,” the court stated.

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India

NCP should decide on poll alliance soon: Goa leader

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Sharad Pawar

The Nationalist Congress Party should decide its political strategy for the 2022 Assembly polls in Goa well ahead of time, NCP state president Jose Philip D’Souza said on Wednesday.

D’Souza also said that party supremo Sharad Pawar was scheduled to arrive in Goa on Wednesday for a brief visit to meet with the state executive committee members and discuss strategy for the upcoming polls.

“We will be discussing our electoral agenda with Sharad Pawarji, because elections are just a year away,” D’Souza said.

“Planning should be done in advance. If like minded parties want to go together for the 2022 elections, it has to be decided now. We will be discussing this issue,” D’Souza also said.
The party had fared poorly in the 2017 Assembly polls winning just one seat in the 40-member Goa Assembly, after much delayed talks for an alliance with the Congress failed.

D’Souza claims that it was imperative for the party to ensure that if the party was to ally with a “like-minded” party for the 2022 polls, the deal had to be sewn together sooner rather than later.

“Whether we should go with an alliance with other parties or not, it has to be decided now. If we leave it for too late, with a month or two to go for elections, then there is limited scope for discussion and things can go wrong. The talks should begin now,” D’Souza said, adding that he would be discussing the matter with Pawar.

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