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Kejriwal’s tongue stretched due to complaining about Modi, me: Parrikar

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s tongue may have stretched because of his constant criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Saturday.

“In Delhi, 36 or 40 people died from dengue and chikungunya. While this is happening, the chief minister is on leave. Sometimes I compare, there (in Delhi) he keeps criticises Modi and here he attacks me. His tongue must have extended in length because of the amount he keeps talking. Now he has cropped it.. trimmed it,” Parrikar told a meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party workers here.

The Delhi Chief Minister has undergone a surgery in a Bengaluru clinic to re-position his tongue, which doctors have claimed is a reason for his constant coughing.

Parrikar said he sympathises with the Delhi chief minister, but also added that the AAP government had no right to leave the people of Delhi, who were reeling under a chikungunya and dengue spell without anyone in charge.

“He (Kejriwal) is not there and deputy CM is in Finland on a world tour. If your mohalla clinics are so good, how can 40 people die of chikungunya. You cannot fool all the people all the time. Your lies are being exposed,” he said .

Parrikar also recounted a joke circulating on social media about Aam Aadmi Party MLAs landing up in Delhi’s Tihar prison.

“A Whatsapp message is doing the rounds, that the Tihar jail superintendent wrote a letter to the LG (Lt. Governor) that I have more MLAs in my custody. These people have cheated, given wrong assurances and are roaming around the world without responsibilities. Goans should be careful. Goans do not get conned by schemes,” he said.

India

Grenade attacks in Jammu, Srinagar; 3 cops injured

According to eyewitnesses, they were waiting for their bus to leave for New Delhi when a sudden blast took place and they ran for cover.

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Jammu and Kashmir
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Jammu/Srinagar, May 24 : Three police personnel, including an SHO, were injured in a grenade attack by suspected militants at a bus stand in Jammu tonight, while a similar attack took place at a CRPF camp in Srinagar in which no one was injured, police officials said.

There was a grenade attack in the bus stand area tonight (by suspected militants). The grenade was thrown at a police vehicle, Jammu Senior Superintendent of Police Vivek Gupta told PTI.

He said three police personnel were injured in the attack.

Two of them have been hospitalised, while the SHO received minor injuries, Gupta said.

According to eyewitnesses, they were waiting for their bus to leave for New Delhi when a sudden blast took place and they ran for cover.

The police vehicle was probably the target but the grenade missed it and exploded near the vehicle, the witnesses said.

Soon a number of people gathered at the bus stand area and raised anti-Pakistan slogans.

The area has been cordoned off and searches launched to track down the suspected militants, the SSP said.

Meanwhile in Srinagar, militants tonight hurled a grenade towards the CRPF camp but there was no loss of life in the incident, police said.

Militants lobbed a grenade on the CRPF camp at Brari Pora in Nawakadal area of the city, a police official said.

He said there was no loss of life due to the explosion.

Further details were awaited, the official said.

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Analysis

After 1,460 days of Modi rule, ‘achhe din’ yet to come

I do not blame this government for not being able to deliver ‘achhe din’. Which government since Independence has?

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New Delhi: There’s only one year more to go for the BJP-led regime before another test at the hustings. But is the country any nearer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promised ‘acche din‘ (good days)? Four years ago, the country had voted the present regime to power on hopes of better days in all socio-economic-political spheres. But despite some strong structural reforms like GST, and gut-wrenching changes like demonetisation, the jury may still be out on how good it has been, according to economists and others experts.

Despite India’s GDP growth of 7.2 per cent in the third quarter (October-December) of 2017-18, some economists feel that the demonetisation drive, avowedly taken to “cleanse the system” of black money, had ended up damaging the country’s economy instead.

“Demonetisation was a terrible mistake by the government, for which the common people paid the price. It has reduced people’s trust in the banking system, as they were denied their own money during the period of cash crunch. It takes so much time and work to build institutions and policies — it is so much easier and faster to break things,” Jayati Ghosh, Economics Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), told IANS.

The government decided to ban 1,000 rupee and 500-rupee notes on November 8, 2016, taking away 86 per cent of the total currency in circulation. “May be this move had served the government’s purpose politically, but economically it was a bad one,” Ghosh added.

Echoing similar views, Arun Kumar, former professor of economics at the JNU, told IANS that when the NDA government came in, the Indian economy was already on an upward trajectory. The quarter, in which the government took over, the growth climbed to eight per cent. In October 2016, India was the fastest growing economy in the world when China slowed down a bit.

“But then the government administered a shock to the system with demonetisation. It had a negative impact on the unorganised sector that comprise 45 per cent of production and 93 per cent of employment in the country. According to some estimation, 50-80 per cent of that got damaged,” he said.

Kumar, who is now Chair-Professor with the Institute of Social Sciences, added: “Government did no survey at that time and hence no data is available. Even data from International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which rely on government data, do not show any estimates (on impact).”

After demonetisation, credit off-take in the country declined sharply. “Between November-December 2016, it was at historic low of 60 years. Investment into the country also took a big hit,” he said. However, Ranen Banerjee, Partner & Leader, Public Finance and Economics, at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has a different take on some of the benefits flowing from the action.

“Demonetisation had positive impact as far as digital payments were concerned. It shot up sharply during that period but came down subsequently. The level is still higher earlier. But demonetisation as a measure did not deliver all the results that it was supposed to deliver,” Banerjee said.

The government’s other major thrust, though, on Goods and Services Tax (GST) — rolled out on July 1 last year, got better billing. Economists are hopeful that it will bring in beneficial changes once the hiccups are over. Banerjee says GST would change the entire landscape of tax compliance in the country by creating a multiplier effect. “GST was a bold move which is showing positive results,” he added.

Ghosh, though, thinks GST goes against the grain of federalism. “A unified system is not so necessary in a federal structure — for example, the US does not have it and still has a very modern economy. In a federal structure you have to allow states to have some money raising power. Further, GST implementation has been really bad.”

Kumar said: “Introduction of GST has hit the unorganised sector badly. Even in Malaysia where GST was introduced in 2015-16 at 26 per cent, government decided to scrap it. The organised sector is rising at the expense of unorganised sector. Disparity is rising.”

Industry chambers have by and large welcomed government initiatives, especially the decision on GST. “The overall economy is strong with GST having settled down and reforms firmly on the right path,” Chandrajit Banerjee, Director-General of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), told IANS.

Over the last four years, according to him, the government had systematically addressed major “pain points” for the economy such as ease of doing business, non-performing assets of banks, foreign direct investment rules, infrastructure construction and exit of failing enterprises.

“The government’s mission-mode development campaigns have delivered notable results, adding to overall growth multipliers. The firm level and sectoral level numbers look promising for the next year in terms of orders booked and capacity utilisation,” said CII’s Banerjee.

Former economics professor at Indian Statistical Institute, Dipankar Dasgupta, who holds that the economy was yet to recover from the hit it took because of demonetisation, says that on GST he was hopeful that with time it will stabilise. “In the other countries where it was introduced there were teething problems too,” he said.

The government also took up the job to cleanse bad loans of banks. It is pumping in Rs 2.11 lakh crore as capitalisation, spread over two years. But a number of banking scandals and rising non-performing assets (NPA) may have reduced the faith of people in the bank system, after the shock of demonetisation. “We have declining deposits in the banking system due to people’s rising mistrust,” says Ghosh. Dasgupta says recapitalisation should be followed with caution so that it does not widen the fiscal deficit.

The government, though, has got support in its effort to tackle the issue of NPAs. The bankruptcy law has put everyone on notice. “People are taking the issue of NPAs seriously trying to resolve it. Companies are opting for out of court settlement. Propensity to comply has increased as borrowers know that there will be consequences on not servicing a loan,” Banerjee of PriceWaterhouseCoopers said.

Yet, overall the promise of the golden pot at the end of the five-year rainbow, as promised by Modi in his of speeches — where he had painted the BJP rule in attractive hues — has not materialised in four years. BJP’s best salesman may have oversold the hope. “I do not blame this government for not being able to deliver ‘achhe din’. Which government since Independence has?” asks Dasgupta rhetorically.

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BJP MP Vinay Katiyar attacks Priyanka, says Rohingyas sympathisers should leave India

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New Delhi, May 24: Two days after actor and UNICEF goodwill ambassador for Child Rights Priyanka Chopra visited Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, BJP MP Vinay Katiyar on Thursday attacked her and said those sympathising with Rohingyas should not be allowed to live in India and sympathisers should leave the country.

Taking a dig at Priyanka Chopra, he said there is no place for Rohingyas Muslims in India. He further added that Priyanka Chopra shouldn’t have to meet Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh. Yesterday, Priyanka Chopra said, “Many months later Rohingya Muslims are still highly vulnerable, living in overcrowded camps with no idea when or where they will ever belong…even worse when they will get their next meal.”

Priyanka Chopra on Monday visited Cox’s Bazaar, one of the largest refugee camps in the world and to share his experience, Priyanka Chopra on Twitter said, “I’m in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh today for a field visit UNICEF, visiting one of the largest refugee camps in the world.”

The actor also shared her pictures with victim children staying in refugee camps on the social media app Instagram. According to United Nations’official stats, almost 700,000 refugees have fled violence in neighbouring Myanmar and arrived in Cox’s Bazar since August 2017.

When Mansur Ali, 12 yrs old, first came to the Child Friendly Space (CFS) at the Balukhali camp, he was only drawing scenes of bloodshed and violence. Helicopters shooting at him and his friends playing soccer… or his village and home being on fire with burning bodies all around him.. Today, his drawings reflect a more hopeful story, one we would like all these children to have. Since the #Rohingya children have arrived in Cox’s Bazar, they have been living in overcrowded camps with no real place that to call their own. Imagine a space that lets you forget your troubles and be a child again… even if its only for just a few hours a day. For the Rohingya children, over 300,000, in the camps in Bangladesh this is the only space that allows them to be kids. These Child Friendly Spaces created by @unicef give kids access to art, music, dance, sport, and counselling etc. The space has often proved to be very therapeutic, helping these kids deal with the horrific situations they faced.. the @unicef aid workers work tirelessly to make sure these children find their spirit again. It doesn’t matter where a child is from or what his or her circumstances are… NO child deserves a life without hope for the future. The world needs to care. We need to care. Please lend your support at www.supportunicef.org #childrenuprooted @unicef @unicefbangladesh

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As I walk into the Women Friendly Space at the Jamtoli Camp, I am instantly struck by a certain calmness. These camps are loud & crowded, actually overcrowded, and so to find a quiet oasis, in this case a small hut with a tarp roof and thatched bamboo walls, is surprising. But for the girls in this camp, this is what they call their “house of peace.” It’s a place they can come and just be. A place to interact with friends, seek counselling, learn about hygiene, or learn life skills like art and music. There are approx 50 Women Friendly Spaces in the camps, just like this one, that on any given day see 50-70 Rohingya girls seeking these safe havens. The centers open at 9am, but there is seldom a day when the women aren’t lined up early, waiting for the doors to open. It is here that I met three 18 year old young women, in particular, who’s stories really shook me – their names have been omitted to protect their identities. They recounted lives of pain and suffering so horrifying…it’s difficult to fathom. One scarred with memories of houses in her village being burned – she and her parents traveled for two days to get here, passing hundreds of decapitated and dismembered bodies along the way. Another shared stories of young girls being pulled from their homes to be raped and tortured. They even tried to kill her and cut her with a knife, but she fought back. How did you manage to be so brave, I asked her…she replied, “If you’re born you will die, so I’m not scared of dying today.” In what world is it normal for an 18 year old girl to have this perspective on life?! The third young woman traveled for nearly two weeks on foot through the forest, where her youngest brother died along the way. There was lots of rape and torture back home she told me, and some women’s breasts were even cut off. While their lives are safer now, they are all still struggling. They know that with an education they can get a job and create better lives for their family, like buying protein for their meals, and clean drinking water. It’s literally as basic as that. Please help however you can, no donation is too small…go to www.supportunicef.org #childrenuprooted @unicef

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This is little Shohida (8 months old), who stole my heart with her infectious smile. It’s a poignant reminder of the dichotomy of life…here she was getting all the help she needed, when just a few months before, her mother, Alada (who was only 19 years old at the time) walked for 15 days, while 6 months pregnant with her ,to get across the border. It shows us that there is hope left in this world. When you’re dealing with a mass exodus of thousands of people, who have been displaced from their homes and are desperate for refuge, the need for proper health and nutrition takes center stage…especially for women and children. On the various Unicef Field Visits I have taken, I am always surprised by the simple yet effective solutions that @unicef and their partners develop to deal with the most dire and pressing situations and issues. This is something I experienced again today during my visit to the Nutrition Centre at the Jamtoli camp in Cox’s Bazar. More than 60,000 babies have been born in the camps over the past 8 months, so this center is an essential resource for new mothers to learn about proper feeding and nutrition. It all begins with the MUAC, a process where the child’s middle upper arm is measured to ascertain their nutrition level. From there, aids create a program for the child and a nutrient rich, ready-to-eat peanut paste is portioned out for each child based on the severity of malnutrition. At the Center mother’s are also taught basic hygiene and good health practices when they are in their homes. The world needs to care. We need to care. Please lend your support at www.supportunicef.org #childrenuprooted @unicef @unicefbangladesh

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Read More: Priyanka Chopra visits Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh

Priyanka, 35, has worked with Unicef for a decade and was appointed as the national and global Unicef goodwill ambassador for Child Rights in 2010 and 2016 respectively. She promotes causes such as environment, health and education and women’s rights among many others.

Almost 700,000 refugees have fled violence in neighboring Myanmar and arrived in Cox’s Bazar since August 2017, according to the UN.

Last year, Priyanka had met Syrian refugee children in Jordan.

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