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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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Kisan Congress demands Rahul be made party chief

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The Kisan Congress on Friday passed a resolution for making Rahul Gandhi the president of the party.

In a statement, Kisan Congress vice chairman Surendra Solanki said, “Kisan Congress stands in solidarity with party chief Sonia Gandhi. And, it always remains indebted to her for the strong leadership and making the party strong.”

“But if there is any change in the party’s top leadership, then the Kisan Congress will stand with Rahul Gandhi. And the Kisan Congress working committee has passed a resolution to make Rahul Gandhi as the party President,” it said.

It also said, “Looking at the farmers’ agitation, issues of unemployment besides others, the country needs the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.”

The demand of the Kisan Congress came just hours before the crucial CWC meeting, the highest decision making body of the party. Sources said the CWC will also discuss the schedule of the election for the party president’s post.

Source: IANS

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WB Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee resigns

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Amid a string of exits from the Trinamool Congress party, West Bengal Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee has resigned from his office as Cabinet minister. His resignation has been accepted by West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, ANI reported.

“It has been a great honour and privilege to serve the people of West Bengal. I heartily convey my gratitude for getting this opportunity,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

“I have considered each one of you as my extended family and your support has always motivated me to go the extra mile and be at your service in a better way possible, hence I am announcing my formal resignation on this platform and have informed the concerned authority as well. I hope that in the years to come I will be able to be at each of your service in the best way possible as that has been the sole reason I am into politics,”

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Gehlot-led AICC team to mull Cong prospects in Kerala polls

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Ashok Gehlot

A three-member committee set up by the AICC will hold discussions on Friday evening and Saturday with state leaders on the prospects of the Congress as well as the United Democratic Front in the 2021 Assembly elections.

Led by Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, the team constituted by the All India Congress Committee comprises former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro and former Karnataka Deputy CM G Parameshwara.

While Falerio and Parameshwara have already arrived in the state capital, Gehlot will reach here on Friday evening, accompanied by AICC General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal. The meeting will be held thereafter.

Falerio and Parameshwara have already met with the ‘big three’ in the state Congress — KPCC President Mullappaly Ramachandran, former Chief minister Oomen Chandy, and opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.

KPCC General Secretary Manacadu Suresh told IANS: “Both Felerio and Parameshwara are here and meeting all senior state leaders. They will make a small presentation when Gehlot and Venugopal reach here by evening.”

While an informal meeting will be held after the arrival of the two senior leaders, a series of meeting are slated on Saturday to discuss the prospective party candidates in the Assembly elections likely to be held in May 2021 to elect 140 MLAs.

As Congress Working Committee member and former Kerala Chief Minister AK Antony has openly called for fielding “new faces”, the Congress will be forced to choose several youth leaders for party tickets. Gehlot and his team will have a close look at the strengths and limitations of the new faces proposed to be fielded by the state leadership.

KPCC chief Ramachandran told IANS: “There will be an open meeting between AICC observers and the state leaders’ team. We will discuss the election strategy, pros and cons of fielding new candidates, relations with coalition partners, and finances for the polls. All team members are senior politicians and we will make use of their vast experience and expertise in the run-up to the polls.”

The Congress contested 87 seats in 2016 elections but won only 22, while its United Democratic Front partner Indian Union Muslim League contested 25 seats and won 18.

In the 2021 polls, the Congress is likely to contest 95 Assembly seats and is hoping to lead in 27 of them. The UDF will give two seats to the Communist Marxist Party (CMP), which has been with the UDF since its formation. Forward Block will get one seat while Kerala Congress splinter group led by PJ Joseph will get 7 to 9 seats to contest.

Source: IANS

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