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No discontinuation of free power to farmers: Punjab CM

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, May 30 (IANS) Categorically rejecting allegations about withdrawal of free power to Punjab’s farmers, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said his government is ready to forego the portion of fiscal deficit enhancement offered by the Centre, but would not compromise with the farmers’ interest at any cost.

Dismissing the Centre’s suggestion on replacement of free power to farmers with DBT as totally unacceptable and a direct attack on the federal structure of the nation, the Chief Minister said he will take up the issue with the Centre for trying to impose such a anti-farmer condition on the cash-strapped state in the guise of extending fiscal support amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asserting that the free power facility for farmers would continue to exist till his government is in power, Amarinder Singh said his government will take loans to bridge the fiscal deficit, and the government of India cannot dictate the terms of a sovereign loan being taken by a state government.

Amarinder Singh also lashed out at Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Badal for trying to pin the blame for the Central government’s misdemeanours on the state government, which had unwaveringly been providing free power to farmers since taking over in March 2017, despite the massive fiscal crunch it had inherited from the erstwhile Akali-BJP regime.

The Chief Minister asked Sukhbir to immediately quit the ruling NDA at the Centre, and demanded Union Minister and Akali leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation from the Central cabinet. He pointed out that it was the government of India that took the decision directing the states to withdraw the free power, and also failed to come to the rescue of the state and its people in the wake of the unprecedented Covid crisis and lockdown.

Terming their allegations as malicious and mischievous and totally unsubstantiated, Amarinder Singh hit out at the SAD leadership for not fighting for the rights of Punjab and its people, including farmers, at the Centre or in Parliament, and resorting, instead, to petty and shameless politicking even on such a grave issue of national concern.

“If you have even an iota of shame, you should leave the NDA coalition, of which you are a part, immediately, and join my government in working for the people of the state,” the Chief Minister said in a statement, criticising Sukhbir and Harsimrat over their pathetic attempts to mislead the people of Punjab with their patent double standards, blatant falsehoods and unfounded allegations.

Amarinder Singh clarified that the state Cabinet had, in its last meeting, given an in-principle approval to undertaking certain reforms to become eligible to avail additional borrowing of 1.5 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) amid COVID-19, as mandated by the government of India.

Cities

Jitin Prasada urges Yogi to restore Parshuram Jayanti holiday

Parshuram Jayanti had earlier been declared a public holiday but when the Yogi government came to power, the holiday was cancelled.

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Jitin Prasada Congress UP

Former Union minister and senior UP Congress leader Jitin Prasada has written a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, urging him to declare a holiday on Parshuram Jayanti.

Parshuram Jayanti had earlier been declared a public holiday but when the Yogi government came to power, the holiday was cancelled.
In April 2017, the chief minister had cancelled 15 public holidays, including Parshuram Jayanti. The government also cancelled the birth and death anniversaries of several eminent people.

In his letter, Jitin Prasada, who has been leading a campaign against atrocities on the Brahmin community, said that Parshuram is revered as the Lord of Justice and is also seen as the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu.

He said that Parshuram is held in high esteem by the Brahmin community. Prasada has urged the chief minister to restore the holiday on Parshuram Jayanti.

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Cities

Uttar Pradesh: 6-yr-old brutally raped, accused on the run

Dr S.K. Garg, the principal of the Meerut Medical College where the girl is admitted, said that she will need treatment for a long duration and more surgeries.

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Minor Girl rape

Hapur (UP), Aug 10 : A six-year-old girl, who was kidnapped and brutally raped in Hapur district on Thursday, remains in a critical condition even as the police continue to hunt for the accused.

The police have released three sketches of the accused on the basis of the statements of the girl’s parents and neighbours.

The girl was kidnapped from outside her home in the Garh Mukhteshwar area, reportedly by a man on a motorcycle.

The police launched a hunt for the girl after her parents lodged a missing complaint.

She was found the next morning, unconscious and soaked in blood, behind bushes not far from her village. The girl was rushed to a specialised hospital in Meerut where the medical examination confirmed rape.

She has already undergone one surgery and doctors say she is stable but not yet out of danger.

The doctors said that the girl was brutalised in a manner that is shockingly similar to the Nirbhaya gang rape case of 2012.

Dr S.K. Garg, the principal of the Meerut Medical College where the girl is admitted, said that she will need treatment for a long duration and more surgeries.

Hapur SP Sanjeev Suman said that they have not yet been able to record the victim’s statement because of her medical condition. He said that six police teams have been formed to arrest the accused.

Meanwhile, protests are being held by the Samajwadi Party and Congress over the incident.

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India

Deception, disinformation part of China’s game plan with India

The former diplomat predicted that Beijing will insist that it is on its own territory and defend its position at all cost while accusing Indian troops of being the aggressors.

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India China Galwan Valley

New Delhi, Aug 10 :: China’s game plan for the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control with India in Ladakh will include a combination of pressure, deception, disinformation and continuation of its long-term expansionist policies.

This was deduced by the Delhi Policy Group (DPG), one of India’s oldest think tanks on strategic and international issues of critical national interest, from the statements from a series of meetings between senior Army commanders, foreign ministers and ministries and the special representatives on the border question of the two countries.

In his paper on ‘China’s post-Galwan Posture’, former ambassador Nalin Surie, distinguished fellow for diplomacy at DPG, said that over six weeks after the brutal, unprovoked, illegal and fatal attack by Chinese troops on Indian soldiers in East Ladakh, the situation there remains tense and fragile.

“Chinese obduracy has ensured that the rebuilding of confidence, let alone trust, in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is in serious doubt,” he said.

India and China have made no headway in de-escalation in the Pangong Tso lake region of Ladakh, where both sides have built up forces and are preparing to dig in for the long haul.

Surie in his paper said that the “Chinese game plan to extricate itself from a situation of its own creation which has won it no friends except Pakistan” would contain “a mix of pressure, deception, disinformation and not having to abandon its long term and long held objectives”.

The former diplomat predicted that Beijing will insist that it is on its own territory and defend its position at all cost while accusing Indian troops of being the aggressors.

China will also insist that India should compromise its position and “meet the Chinese side halfway”, Surie said.

The third line of attack, Surie said, will be to repeatedly “warn India not to misjudge or make a strategic calculation of the current situation and not underestimate China’s firm determination to safeguard its territorial sovereignty”.

The Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong warned of this on July 10, and reiterated his advice at a public forum in New Delhi on July 30.

China has concerns at the growing congruence of interests in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region between India and the US and other QUAD countries, particularly post the Chinese attacks in East Ladakh, the DPG paper said.

Besides, the growing distrust between the Trump administration and China, Beijing may also be worried about Russia’s neutrality.

As a result, Surie said that the Chinese will also put pressure on New Delhi by claiming that India will greatly suffer from economic decoupling.

“India’s decisions on Chinese Apps, Chinese tenders for projects and investments in India have undoubtedly caused considerable disquiet. Given the state of the world economy and the future prognosis, loss of one of the largest and fast growing markets in the world is not going to be easily digested by China,” the former Ambassador said.

Part of China’s response will be to strengthen its economic assistance and cooperation with our neighbours and other economic partners, Surie said.

Incidentally, the Chinese embassy in New Delhi threatened Strat News Global, an independent media portal of “severe consquences” if it did not “delete a video” comparing Xi Jinping with the Nazi tyrant Adolf Hitler.

Strat News Global founder and editor-in-chief Nitin Gokhale revealed this on Twitter, confirming Surie’s analysis that China will use pressure, deception and disinformation in the long haul with India.

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