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Mehbooba Mufti seeks RBI support for youth empowerment

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Mehbooba Mufti

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday sought Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) support for youth empowerment in the state, while urging premier banking institutions to reach out to young, budding entrepreneurs and help them establish viable business units.

She said she expects the RBI to do more in exerting pressure on banking firms operating in the state so that small and medium enterprises have hassle-free access to loans.

“We seek better cooperation of banks in creating ample opportunities of employment for youth in the state,” she said at luncheon meeting today with RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, during which several issues relating to banking operations in the state were discussed.

Mufti said banks need to focus on priority sector lending in the state, particularly targeting tourism, handicraft, handloom, agriculture and allied segments, which have a huge potential to generate avenues of employment for youth.

Rajan discussed with her a 12-point plan aimed at putting together a stronger financing structure in the state which goes beyond conventional banking. He said the first priority will be to create linkages of finance by overcoming physical barriers which will help in integrating the state with the rest of the country and empowering young local entrepreneurs.

“We are taking measurable short-term initiatives. I think J&K is in a better position in making the state easy for financing, which can be a model for the rest of the country to emulate,” he added.

Mufti also requested Rajan to expedite working out modalities for establishing banking facilities for cross-LoC trade, saying the switch from barter to banking at two trading points of Salamabad and Chakan da Bagh will expand the scope and ambit of cross-LoC commerce.

She also particularly sought support in promoting business link-ups between large business houses and local entrepreneurs. Rajan stressed on branding of handicraft products by popularising logos and bringing tour operators, hoteliers and other stakeholders under one platform to aggressively promote the state as a niche high-end tourist destination.

Mufti also requested institutional finance be faciliated for setting up model villages for basmati, apple, mint and milk. To this, Rajan said once government firms up Self Help Groups and milk cooperatives, the banks will be more keen to finance liberally.

Asking banks to take a cue from HDFC’s expansion in remote and far-flung locations, she sought the governor’s intervention in improving the visibility of nationalised banks in un-banked areas.

The regional director informed the meeting that as per revised RBI guidelines, every village having population in excess of 5,000 will have a bank branch.

To provide a window of opportunity for jobs for local youngsters in the banking sector, the chief minister stressed upon wider publicity to vacancies and holding of coaching classes so that more and more aspirants compete for recruitment in the banking sector.

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Jessica Lal murder case: Manu Sharma released from Tihar Jail

The Delhi Sentence Review Board (SRB) which comes under the Delhi government had recommended Sharma’s premature release last month

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Manu Sharma Jessica Lal

Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal has approved the premature release of Jessica Lal Murder case convict Manu Sharma, who is serving life sentence, according to an official order.

The Delhi Sentence Review Board (SRB) which comes under the Delhi government had recommended Sharma’s premature release last month. The sources said the recommendation was made at a meeting of the SRB chaired by Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain on May 11. Sharma, son of former Union minister Vinod Sharma, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court in December 2006 for killing Jessica Lal in 1999.

A trial court had acquitted him, but the high court reversed the order and the Supreme Court later upheld his life sentence in April 2010. Lal was shot dead by Sharma after she had refused to serve him liquor at the Tamarind Court restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonnade in south Delhi’s Mehrauli area on the night of April 30, 1999.

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Congress alleges ”secret” trip by Kerala CS just before retiring

According to estimates, Chennithala said the quantity of this sand is in excess of one lakh tonnes.

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Ramesh Chennithala

Thiruvananthapuram, June 2 : Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday expressed serious doubts on a ”secret” helicopter trip taken by Tom Jose and State Police chief Loknath Behera, hours before the former retired.

Jose retired on last Saturday from the post of chief secretary and handed over the charge to Vishwas Mehta on Monday morning.

Chennithala told the media here that the trip was a secret one to have a look into the tonnes of sand lying on the banks of river Pamba at the foothills of the famed Sabarimala temple.

According to estimates, Chennithala said the quantity of this sand is in excess of one lakh tonnes.

“Soon after this flying visit, the Pathanamthitta district authorities came out with an order giving the rights of removing this precious sand to the Kannur based state owned Kerala Clays and Ceramics Products,” said Chennithala.

“What is intriguing is neither the forest nor revenue department is aware of what happened. This place is where the Forest Act is in vogue and the Revenue department is responsible for the sand. I read in the media that State Forest Minister K. Raju had no clue on this. This particular company has no expertise or has not done anything conclusive till now. This company is chaired by a top level CPI-M party official from Kannur,” said Chennithala.

Kannur is the home town of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and State Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan, under whose department, this company is placed.

“We wish to know if a sand audit was conducted and also was the environmentalist consulted. My question is — what are they going to do with the sand and if there are other ”players” involved in it? Today everything is happening under the guise of Covid, without taking into account even the concerned departments. We are questioning why this is now being done as this sand was lying there for two years. We want to hear from the government and then I will reveal more,” added Chennithala.

–IANS

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Congress flays govt on MSP hike, demands further increase

Jakhar alleged that in many states, the crop procurement was not done as per the MSP and farmers were forced to sell their yield in the open market.

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Sunil Jakhar Punjab Congress

New Delhi, June 2 : A day after the central government announced increased MSP for Kharif crops, the opposition Congress on Tuesday flayed the move and claimed the farmers were being given too little and that input cost had not been taken into account for MSP calculation.

The Congress leader demanded further increase in MSP of different crops and an assurance from the government that the produce will be procured in time.

Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar, who raised the issue on behalf of his party, said: “Farmer is also a corona warrior but nobody cheered him for his contribution. Even the Prime Minister has left him at God”s mercy.”

The Congress said that due to reverse migration of farm labourers, the agricultural cost had increased in many states and government has neglected this factor while announcing the MSP.

The Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) report is not in public domain and talk of agricultural reforms remains within the inter-ministerial group while the states — which are stakeholders — don”t even know about it, said Jakhar.

Jakhar alleged that in many states, the crop procurement was not done as per the MSP and farmers were forced to sell their yield in the open market.

“The government is not able to procure all farm produce, with a major chunk of its procurement comprising paddy and wheat,” the Congress leader said.

Earlier, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said: “If this is going to be the government”s attitude towards farmers, their promise to double the farmers” income by 2022 will end up becoming another ”jumla”.”

“Forget about profit, this so-called raise in Kharif crops MSP won”t even cover their losses and debts,” he added

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday approved an increase in the MSPs for all mandated Kharif crops for marketing season 2020-21.

The highest increase in MSPs is for niger seed (Rs 755 per quintal) followed by sesamum (Rs 370 per quintal), urad (Rs 300 per quintal) and cotton (long staple) (Rs 275 per quintal).

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