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Modi’s latest Political Googly: Reservation for economically weaker forward castes

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Narendra Modi

Today morning, BJP government at centre decided to give 10% reservation in jobs to those belonging to economically backward forward castes. The latest decision of Modi government on the penultimate day of the current Parliament session raises lot of doubts. Firstly, to make a constitutional amendment the Govt needs to pass this bill with a two third majority in both Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha. Considering their lack of numbers in the upper house, it’s simply out of question that they can get it through the upper house. Moreover, the next Parliament session will be the last one before the next General election to be held sometimes in May or June 2019 which will mostly focus on passing the interim budget.

It is obvious that in a bid to bring back the disgruntled forward caste into its fold once again, BJP government has come out with an ill timed poll googly. The latest cabinet decision gives the economically weaker forward caste a 10% reservation in government jobs. The million dollar question is where are the government jobs?

The reservation is not only approved in Govt jobs but is also applicable in the education sector. The next logical move for the government will be amending the constitution to grant the benefit of 10 % reservation for the economically weaker upper caste people.

If the government would have been really keen in improving the lot of those belonging to economically weaker forward castes, it wouldn’t have waited for its full term. Therefore, even a layman can understand that this is clearly a politically motivated decision taken ahead of the General Elections this year.

The government while announcing reservation in jobs for those belonging to the upper castes has put a rider of an annual income of less than Rs 8 lakh per year. A bill to amend Article 15 and 16 of the constitution is likely to be moved in the Parliament to this effect. The Supreme Court has earlier capped the quota for caste-based reservation for government jobs at 50 %. Most states do not provide more than 50% reservation barring Tamil Nadu, which has a whopping 69% reservation. In Tamil Nadu there is 50% reservation for OBC, 18% for SC and 1% for ST. Tamil Nadu crossed the threshold of 50% limit in 1980 after the then ADMK government decided to withdraw the “Creamy Layer” policy.

The central government decided to include the Tamil Nadu Reservation System under the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution only after number of cases were filed against this system followed by years of argument and counter arguments. The Supreme Court subsequently upheld the move which made Tamil Nadu as the only state in India that has legally been able to provide more than 50% reservation for backward castes.

In plane words this means that economically weaker section of the society, even if they belong to the Upper castes like Brahmin, Raput, Jats or Patidars will be considered for reservation in the government jobs. This wasn’t the case earlier when reservation was conceived in government jobs. It was applicable only for those belonging to the SC-ST and the backwards.

BJP has earlier used this political gimmick during the assembly elections of Gujarat in 2017. It was prima facie devised by the ruling BJP in Gujarat for appeasing the Patidars which in turn was a replica of the solution it had proffered for Gurjars of Rajasthan. The BJP government of Vasundhra Raje had extended 5% reservation to a special category of backwards that included Gurjars and another 14 % quota to economically backward classes. In all probability, the latest 10% reservation for economically backward section from forward castes is only a hollow Jumla by this clueless Govt. They know that people from forward as well as backward castes have long deserted the BJP’s bandwagon. This is possibly a last- ditch effort from the BJP to save themselves from a certain defeat in the next General elections.

Now one thing is certain. No matter what they do, what ‘jumlas’ they give, nothing is going to save this Govt. This only reminds us of these famous lines from a hit Bollywood film ‘Huzoor aate aate bahot der kar di’!

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Madhya Pradesh farmers hopeful of being ‘debt-free’ as loan waiver scheme kicks-off

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Earth Climate

Bhopal, Jan 22 : A week after the launch of the loan waiver scheme in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government claims 19.54 lakh farmers have filed their applications in the six days till Sunday.

While the opposition BJP has been calling the “Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana” a trick to cheat the farmers, the question is how the farmers of the state perceive the entire exercise.

Kailash Chaudhary, a farmer from Mandsaur district’s Babulda village, said: “About two years ago, six farmers sacrificed their lives for their rights in Pipliya Mandi. This is the beginning of the victory of their fight.”

“Forms are being filled for waiver of loans up to Rs 2 lakh. We feel that the government is taking our demands seriously,” Chaudhary told IANS.

Mandsaur was the centre of farmers’ agitation in 2017 when six farmers were killed in police firing in June, 2017. After the incident, the farmers’ movement had taken over the whole state, which then spread to the whole nation.

Farmer’s leader Kedar Sirohi said: “Farmers in different parts of the state are excited about the loan waiver. They are filing applications in large numbers.”

“To ensure they don’t face any difficulty in filing applications, leaders and workers of farmer organisations are helping them. Government officials is also alert to help out the farmers. Colour coding of application forms has made it easier for farmers to fill out the applications,” he said.

According to official figures, out of the 19.54 lakh forms filed till Sunday, around 60 per cent were green forms, 35 per cent were white forms and 5 percent were pink forms. The farmers are hopeful of becoming debt-free through this exercise.

As per the scheme, the farmers of the Aadhaar seeded list will have to submit green applications and the farmers of non-Aadhar seeded list will have to submit white coloured applications. Farmers have to submit a pink application to file an objection or claim against information provided in the green or white list.

However, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been accusing the Congress of misleading the farmers and terming the scheme a trick to cheat them.

Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said the Congress promise of a loan waiver won’t be fulfilled by a mere announcement.

“The Chief Minister (Kamal Nath) and Congress leaders are saying they have fulfilled their promise of loan waiver to the farmers. But the promise has not yet been fulfilled. An announcement does not mean fulfillment of the promise,” he said, adding the Congress was misleading the farmers.

Congress spokesperson Syed Jaffer responded that 55 lakh farmers will get their loans waived of under the scheme, for which the due process needs to be followed.

“No matter what charges the BJP makes, the truth is that farmers are happy and they trust that the Congress is fulfilling the promise that they made to them,” he said.

“Those farmers who are in debt, neither are they now receiving notices from the banks nor is their property being seized. Under BJP rule, farmers had to go to jail and lose their property just for not paying their power bills,” Jaffer told IANS.

Calling the scheme pro-farmer, farmer leader Shiv Kumar Sharma told IANS that political parties were creating doubts about the scheme.

“Farmers were reeling under debt which had increased manifold over the last one-and-a-half decade. Now they are getting waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh. The government is new and one should wait before making adverse comments,” he said.

Kamal Nath had signed the farm loan waiver file soon after taking oath as the Chief Minister. The filing of forms for the waiver started from January 15 and will continue till February 5.

According to the government, farmers will start getting the money in their loan accounts from February 22.

The Chief Minister had said that the scheme would benefit around 55 lakh farmers by waiving their loans worth Rs 50,000 crore.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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Entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia: Pahlaj Nihalani

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

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Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai, Jan 22 :Govinda, “Rangeela Raja”, Pahlaj Nihalani-backed comeback vehicle for Govinda, did not open well. Nihalani says it is because his film did not get the theatres required as the entertainment industry is run by a “glamorous mafia”.

“I am being targeted for my blunt views on the workings of censor board, and because of me, my leading man Govinda is being targeted. If you ask me, Govinda and I have the maximum number of enemies in the film industry,” Nihalani said.

Lamenting the lack of theatres for “Rangeela Raja”, Nihalani says he was refused a release in places like Bihar and Jharkhand.

“These are traditional strongholds of Govinda. And not a single theatre in Patna or Ranchi agreed to play ‘Rangeela Raja’. Why? Because my film is bad? Are only quality films released in theatres? And who decides that my film is substandard? A handful of critics for whom I did not have a press show, so they are upset with me and they are taking it out on my film,” he said.

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

“I know who they are. I know the people who want to finish off Govinda and me. The entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia. They all sit, eat, sleep and make movies together. Solo producers like me with no corporate backing are being pushed out of the film industry in the name of corporotization,” he said.

But Nihalani says he isn’t going away anywhere.

“I belong to this industry as much as those who are currently monopolising the A-list stars. I will make another film with Govinda and prove he too is an A-list star.”

Nihalani says he has always believed in introducing new talent and will continue to do so.

“I introduced Govinda and Chunky Pandey. In ‘Rangeela Raja’ I’ve introduced Mishika Chourasia. I am confident she has a very bright future. Unless the industry will punish her for being Pahlaj Nihalani’s protege.”

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BenQ launches 4K home cinema projectors in India

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w2700 cinematic color with true 4k kv

New Delhi, Jan 22 : Taiwanese electronics company BenQ on Tuesday launched two new 4K home cinema projectors — “W2700” and “W5700” — with CinematicColor technology, projector-optimised HDR-PRO support and individual factory colour calibration in India.

The new projectors, “W2700” and “W5700”, priced at Rs 2.49 lakh and Rs 2.99 lakh respectively, are the world’s first 4K home cinema projectors, the company said.

“With this new range of 4K projectors, we are extremely optimistic that these will turn any room into a world-class home theatre with video enhancing technologies,” said Rajeev Singh, Managing Director, BenQ India.

Fuelled by DCI-P3 colour space, “W2700” delivers the highest level of image accuracy while the “W5700” projector provides a 1.6X big zoom along with 2D H/V lens shift that is ideal for audio visual (AV) rooms.

The HDR-PRO supported projectors also incorporate auto colour and tone mapping techniques to offer improved brightness and contrast range along with ideal image optimization for vivid video quality.

Designed with a compact profile, the light weight projectors facilitate tailored AV personalization with versatile short throw, big zoom and lens shift for a wide range of home cinema possibilities, the company said.

The projectors would begin shipping in the first quarter of 2019.

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