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‘NRC excluded people spent Rs 7,836 cr on hearings’

The survey was carried out in Baksa, Goalpara and Kamrup (Rural) districts of Assam between July 17 to July 20 this year and that the survey covered 62 respondents.

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India assam NRC

Guwahati, Aug 27 (IANS) The people in Assam excluded from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) spent Rs 7,836 crore for the hearings and many have been so economically crippled that they will not be able to challenge their exclusion before the Foreigners’ Tribunals, New Delhi-based Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) said on Tuesday.

Releasing report, “The Economic Cost of Draft NRC: Poor Made Extremely Poor”, RRAG Director Suhas Chakma said that respondents during a survey carried out by RRAG said hey have spent an average of Rs 19,065 per person for attending the hearing.

“If Rs 19,065 has been spent by each person excluded from the NRC on an average, it implies that a total of Rs 78,360,371,985 spent by 41,10,169 persons excluded from the draft NRC at present,” he said.

The survey was carried out in Baksa, Goalpara and Kamrup (Rural) districts of Assam between July 17 to July 20 this year and that the survey covered 62 respondents.

“The per capita income of Assam during 2018 was Rs 67,620 as per the Ministry of Finance. If Rs 19,065 has been spent for the NRC hearings by each excluded person, it implies that their per capita income had been effectively reduced to Rs 48,555 or about $700 which is at par with Central African Republic, the civil war ridden country with the lowest per capita income in the world, just above Somalia,” Chakma said.

The NRC has made 41,10,169 excluded persons, who constitute about 13 per cent of the state’s 31 million population and many are overwhelmingly below the poverty line. Many had to mortgage agricultural lands, sell their cattle, livestock and agricultural products like betel nuts, and paddy or their only means of income like auto-rickshaws while many took loans to meet the expenses for the NRC hearings.

Explaining the reasons for the high expenses, the report said: “Every person excluded from the draft NRC had to spend more money because when a person from the family is excluded from the draft NRC, it is not only the excluded person who has to attend the NRC hearings but all the adult members of the family or blood relatives who are otherwise included in the draft NRC have to accompany the excluded member as witnesses before the NRC authorities.

Chakma added: “The expenses multiply because the excluded person has to be present himself or herself along with witnesses for multiple times before the NRC Seva Kendra. Further, many excluded persons received notices from the NRC Seva Kendra in another district to establish the legacy data of their parents or grandparents in that place.”

“As majority of those who shall be excluded from the final NRC to be published on August 31, 2019 have already been so economically crippled that they shall not able to meet the costs between Rs 100,000 to Rs 150,000 to challenge the exclusion before the Foreigners’ Tribunals which are quasi-judicial bodies and require representation by lawyers. If they do not have the capacity to defend before the FTs, the question of challenging before the High Court and the Supreme Court does not arise,” he said.

The report stated that hundreds of thousands of people are staring at extreme poverty, hunger and imprisonment in the detention centres as each person shall have to file appeal before the designated Foreigners’ Tribunal constituted under the Foreigners’ (Tribunals) Order, 1964 following publication of the NRC or be treated as foreigner and face the consequences.

Cities

10 dead in Andhra Covid centre fire, govt sets up probe panel

Nine people were killed after a massive fire broke out at a Covid-19 facility in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada.

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Andhra Factory Fire

Vijayawada, Aug 9 : At least 10 patients were killed and several others injured in a fire at a hotel functioning as a Covid care facility early on Sunday, Andhra Pradesh Health Minister Alla Nani said.

The government has set up a committee to inquire into the incident, said the minister, who inspected the scene at the Swarna Palace hotel which had been converted into a paid Covid care centre by a private hospital here.

The inquiry committee has been tasked with submitting its findings to the government within 48 hours, he added.

Following a review meeting with local authorities and officials concerned, the minister said that the fire had broken out at 4.45 a.m., while the fire station received the first intimation at 5.09 a.m.

Panic-stricken inmates began screaming for help and a few staff members leapt off from the first floor, suffering injuries.

There were around 50 people in the building at the time of the mishap, of whom 31 were Covid-19 patients. The remaining inmates were medical staff and support personnel.

Ten Covid-19 patients, including two women at the centre, were killed in the blaze suspected to have been set off by a short circuit. The remaining Covid patients are reported to be safe and recovering.

Stating that initial investigations point to several violations, the minister said that a police case has been registered against the Ramesh Hospital’s management under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has expressed sorrow over the tragedy and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 50 lakh to families of each victims.

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India

After ‘Digital Andaman’, PM plans to make it hub of ‘blue economy’

The Prime Minister also took a detailed stock from the local leadership about their work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Aug 9 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the Andamanese people via the digital mode amid the Covid-19 pandemic on Sunday.

The Prime Minister interacted with the BJP workers of Andaman and Nicobar Islands through a video conference on Sunday, a day before dedicating the Submarine optical fibre cable project, connecting Chennai and Port Blair.

“For the development of New India, the entire nation needs to progress. The government may function from a specific point, but its work should reach out to everyone, and more importantly, to the person at the end of the ladder,” he said.

Modi added that the islands are strategically positioned with proximity to Chennai, Kolkata and the Mongla Port in Bangladesh which will prove beneficial for the islands which can be developed as the hub of the ‘blue economy’.

Talking about the development of the Andamans, Modi said, “The Central government’s initiatives have been very influential in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These islands are being connected to other cities in the country by airways while also improving their inter-connectivity. Port Blair airport is being expanded.”

The Prime Minister also took a detailed stock from the local leadership about their work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

After listening to many anecdotes and personal experiences of the local BJP leadership, the PM seemed content and expressed his willingness to visit the Islands soon.

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India

President’s ‘At Home’ for freedom fighters skipped this year

The Rashtrapati Bhavan provided the angvastram and shawls to the state and UTs governments through their Resident Commissioners.

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Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi, Aug 9 : Unlike previous years, President Ram Nath Kovind did not host the ‘At Home’ reception to honour freedom fighters on the 78th anniversary of ‘Quit India’ Day on Sunday due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Every year, the President hosts the ‘At Home’ reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan on the anniversary of the Quit India Movement on August 9.

The President, however, honoured and felicitated 202 freedom fighters from across the country on the occasion, and state and Union Territory governments were requested to send the District Magistrate/Additional District Magistrate/Sub Divisional Magistrate to felicitate these freedom fighters with a shawl and ‘angavastram’ at their homes on behalf of the President.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan provided the angvastram and shawls to the state and UTs governments through their Resident Commissioners.

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