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PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi shake hands on Sharad Pawar’s birth anniversary

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Rivals from the two ends of political spectrum, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi shook hands at a function to felicitate NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, who turned 75 on Thursday.

Rahul greeted the Prime Minister with a ‘Namaste’ before he was about to leave the function after it got over. However, the two immediately followed it up with a handshake.

As the function was about to be over, NCP leader Praful Patel called Rahul and chief ministers of BJP-ruled Maharashtra and Rajasthan Devendra Phadnavis and Vasundhara Raje on stage for a group photo with a galaxy of leaders including President Pranab Mukherjee, vice-president Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

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Besides Pawar and his wife Pratibha, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, his Punjab counterpart Parkash Singh Badal, BJP veteran LK Advani and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah were on the dais.

There have been hardly any exchange of words between both leaders since the latter became the Prime Minister in May last year.

Wefornews Bureau

Cities

Delhi DMs asked to identify additional land for cremation, burial

As of date, Delhi has reported 523 covid deaths since the outbreak of the infection. Also the cases count has crossed 20,000 mark, with 11,565 of them active cases.

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New Delhi, June 1 : The various District Magistrates in the national capital on Monday were asked to identify lands for cremation or burial grounds, which are reasonably away from the residential areas.

In a letter to all the District Magistrates of Delhi, Rajesh Goyal, Additional CEO, Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) demanded a report on the same by 4 p.m. on June 3.

The letter asked the DMs to identify places, spaces for creating additional capacity for patient beds as well as additional land for cremation and burial grounds.

“As you are aware that in view of the increasing number of Covid-19 patients in Delhi, it is imperative to plan in advance for enhancing the capacity of patient beds and also to identify additional cremation and burial grounds,” the letter reads.

It asked the DMs to identify and provide the information on top priority.

“Indoor air conditioned locations, preferably large multipurpose halls, banquet halls and indoor stadiums etc. for putting up extra beds for Covid-19 patients along with capacity of each such location,” it said.

It also demanded the present locations of cremation and burial grounds as well as “additionally identified locations or lands for cremation and burial grounds which are reasonably away from the residential areas”.

As of date, Delhi has reported 523 covid deaths since the outbreak of the infection. Also the cases count has crossed 20,000 mark, with 11,565 of them active cases.

–IANS

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Disaster

Music symbolises collective strength during crisis: PM Modi

Lauding SPIC MACAYA for adding elements like literature, holistic food, nature walk and ”Naad Yoga” in its programmes for the ”Anubhav” series, Modi said that both Yoga and music boast of a power of motivation.

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New Delhi, June 1 : Stressing that in trying times, music has always symbolised the collective strength of the people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that when the world is fighting an invisible enemy like the Covid-19 pandemic, writers, singers and musicians are playing their part to infuse confidence among the people.

“History and age-old tales are a witness to the fact that during wars, poets and writers would write literature that boosted the morale of the general population,” he said.

Speaking via video-conference during his inaugural keynote message for SPIC MACAY”s week-long special series ”Anubhav” that started on Monday, the Prime Minister added that just like music, which required a synchronisation of discipline and harmony, the same was needed for the fight against the pandemic.

“Every Indian is doing his bit in times of this crisis, and so are the artistes. We are witnessing classical artistes adopting newer technologies to reach the people, which is the need of the hour. With this, all barriers of region and language are being crossed, something which is empowering the idea of ”Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat”,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said that in the Indian civilisation, music has always gone beyond personal happiness and has been a means to serve others. “We have witnessed some major musicians who have devoted their entire lives to serve humanity,” he said.

Lauding SPIC MACAYA for adding elements like literature, holistic food, nature walk and ”Naad Yoga” in its programmes for the ”Anubhav” series, Modi said that both Yoga and music boast of a power of motivation.

Recalling how during the initial days of the lockdown, the population came together to clap to motivate the country as one unit against the pandemic, the Prime Minister added, “As the population came together with similar emotions, what emerged was also music.”

During the week-long series, the participants, while sitting at home, will experience performances and workshops through virtual online platforms by leading exponents of Indian classical music, Carnatic and Hindustani, classical dance performances, folk performances by prominent artistes, theatre performances, lectures and interactions, cinema screening with discussions, a virtual heritage walk, virtual workshops in classical music, dance, crafts, and online Yoga sessions.

On the concluding day, a classical overnight concert beginning at 8 p.m. and ending at 6 a.m. will be organised.

Artistes who will be part of the series include Karan Singh, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Vidwan Umayalpuram, K. Sivaraman, Vidushi Teejan Bai, Pandit Rajan and Pandit Sajan Mishra, Shyam Benegal, Ghulam Md. Sheikh, T.N. Krishnan, Prabha Atre, N. Rajam, L. Subramanium, Uma Sharma, Saroja Vaidyanathan, Padma Subramanyam, Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi.

–IANS

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Business

Moody’s downgrades India’s sovereign rating

The ratings agency also lowered India”s long-term foreign-currency bond and bank deposit ceilings to “Baa2 and Baa3, from Baa1 and Baa2”, respectively.

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New Delhi, June 1 : Global credit ratings agency Moody”s Investors Services on Monday downgraded India”s sovereign ratings as it sees challenges piled up on the country”s policymaking institutions to mitigate the risks of a sustained period of relatively low growth.

Besides, Moody”s said the Covid-19 pandemic amplifies vulnerabilities in India”s credit profile such as slower growth relative to the country”s potential, rising debt and further weakening of debt affordability and persistent stress in parts of the financial system.

Consequently, Moody”s downgraded India”s foreign-currency and local-currency long-term issuer ratings to Baa3 from Baa2.

It also downgraded India”s local-currency senior unsecured rating to Baa3 from Baa2, and its short-term local-currency rating to P-3 from P-2.

Furthermore, it kept the outlook as negative. Currently, the sovereign rating assigned to India is Baa2 with a negative outlook.

The ratings agency also lowered India”s long-term foreign-currency bond and bank deposit ceilings to “Baa2 and Baa3, from Baa1 and Baa2”, respectively.

“The short-term foreign-currency bond ceiling remains unchanged at Prime-2, and the short-term foreign-currency bank deposit ceiling was lowered to Prime-3 from Prime-2. The long- term local currency bond and bank deposit ceilings were lowered to A2 from A1,” Moody”s said.

The ratings downgrade assumes significance since it will hamper the government”s borrowing foreign programme and make the country less attractive for investment purposes.

According to Moody”s, India faces a prolonged period of slower growth relative to the country”s potential, rising debt, further weakening of debt affordability and persistent stress in parts of the financial system, all of which the country”s policymaking institutions will be challenged to mitigate and contain.

“The decision to downgrade India”s ratings reflects Moody”s view that the country”s policymaking institutions will be challenged in enacting and implementing policies which effectively mitigate the risks of a sustained period of relatively low growth, significant further deterioration in the general government fiscal position and stress in the financial sector,” Moody”s said.

“The negative outlook reflects dominant, mutually-reinforcing, downside risks from deeper stresses in the economy and financial system that could lead to a more severe and prolonged erosion in fiscal strength than Moody”s currently projects,” it added.

Moody”s had upgraded India”s ratings to Baa2 in November 2017 which was based on the expectation that effective implementation of key reforms would strengthen the sovereign”s credit profile through a gradual but persistent improvement in economic, institutional and fiscal strength.

“Since then, implementation of these reforms has been relatively weak and has not resulted in material credit improvements, indicating limited policy effectiveness,” the investors services said.

“While today”s action is taken in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, it was not driven by the impact of the pandemic. Rather, the pandemic amplifies vulnerabilities in India”s credit profile that were present and building prior to the shock, and which motivated the assignment of a negative outlook last year.”

As per Moody”s assetment, a slow reform momentum and constrained policy effectiveness have also contributed to a prolonged period of slow growth, compared to India”s potential, that started before the pandemic and that Moody”s expects will continue well beyond it.

“Real GDP growth has declined from a high of 8.3 per cent in fiscal 2016 (ending March 2017) to 4.2 percent in fiscal 2019,” the investors services said.

“Moody”s expects India”s real GDP to contract by 4 per cent in fiscal 2020 due to the shock from the coronavirus pandemic and related lockdown measures, followed by 8.7 per cent growth in fiscal 2021 and closer to 6 per cent thereafter.”

–IANS

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