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President asks rich to give up for those with greater need

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President Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday asked the rich to renew India’s age-old culture of philanthropy by voluntarily giving up their entitlements for those with greater need.

In his first Republic Day eve address to the nation, the President also spoke of the need to move ahead rapidly on sustainable development goals like housing for all and the obligation to eliminate the curse of poverty in the shortest possible time.

Kovind utilized the opportunity to stress on the need to reform, upgrade and enlarge the education system to make it relevant to 21st Century realities of the digital economy, genomics, robotics and automation.

He said a nation with a sense of selflessness is built by citizens and by a society that embraces selflessness not because anybody has asked them to but because of a call from within.

“Where a better-off family voluntarily gives up an entitlement – it could be subsidised LPG today and some other entitlement tomorrow – so that another family, which has a greater need, can avail it.”

He urged all citizens to collate privileges and entitlements and “then look at less-privileged members of a similar background, those who are starting off from where we once started off.

“And let each of us introspect and ask: Is his need or her need greater than mine? The spirit of philanthropy and of giving is part of our age-old culture. Let us renew it.”

The President said the highest stage of India’s nation building project lied in contributing towards building “a better world, a composite and cohesive world, a world at peace with itself and at peace with nature”.

He said this was the ideal spirit of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – of the world being one family”.

“It is an ideal that may sound impractical in today’s times of tensions and of terrorism. But it is an ideal that has inspired India for thousands of years – and that ideal can be felt in the very texture of our constitutional values.

“The principles of compassion, of assisting those in need, of building capacities of our neighbours, or even of those further away, underpin our society. These are the very principles that we bring to the international community.”

He said the country needed to further improve the lives of its farmers who “like mothers toil to feed us”.

The President stressed on the need to modernise and strengthen India’s strategic manufacturing sector “to provide the valiant personnel of our Armed Forces, and our police and paramilitary forces, the equipment that they need”.

“We need to move ahead rapidly on the Sustainable Development Goals that commit us to eliminating poverty and hunger, to universal access to quality education and healthcare, and to giving our daughters equal opportunity in every field.

“We need to make clean, green, efficient and affordable energy reach our people. We need to ensure that housing for all becomes a living reality for the millions of families who await their own home. We need to craft a modern India that is both a land of talent – and a land of unlimited opportunities for that talent.”

Kovind said while India has achieved a lot as a nation but much remained to be done before the country turns 70 year old republic in 2020 and celebrates its 75th Independence anniversary in 2022

“These are special occasions and we must strive, in the manner of the leaders of our national movement and the framers of our Constitution, to build the edifice of a better India – an India where each and every citizen will be able to realise his or her full potential. An India that will reach its deserved pedestal in the 21st century.”

IANS

India

Will visit Congress-ruled states, too, if they block justice: Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

New Delhi, Oct 24 : After coming under attack from BJP leaders for not visiting families of rape victims in Rajasthan and Punjab unlike Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said that the two of his party-ruled states did not deny incidents of rape and didn’t block justice and “if they do” he will go there to fight for justice as well.

“Unlike in UP, the governments of Punjab and Rajasthan are not denying that the girl was raped, threatening her family and blocking the course of justice. If they do, I will go there to fight for justice,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

His remarks came after Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Prakash Javadekar and Dr Harsh Vardhan questioned the Congress leader for not visiting Punjab and Rajasthan.

Rahul Gandhi, along with his sister and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had visited Hathras to meet the family of alleged gang rape victim.

He was roughed up by Uttar Pradesh Police on Yamuna Expressway when he started to march towards Hathras.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Sushmita Deb also slammed BJP leaders for politicising the issue ahead of Bihar assembly polls.

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Modi govt should bring white paper on demonetisation: Congress

Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh asked why is the government afraid to make public the names of entities involved in scams, the details of defaulters and transaction trails, since the Income Tax Department was probing all those with undisclosed incomes.

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Ahead of the 4th anniversary of demonetisation, the Congress demanded that the government bring a white paper on the benefits of its decision to ban notes of higher denomination.

Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh asked why is the government afraid to make public the names of entities involved in scams, the details of defaulters and transaction trails, since the Income Tax Department was probing all those with undisclosed incomes.

“In the next couple of weeks, when we will be commemorating the 4th anniversary, we demand that the government should come out with a white paper highlighting the cost and benefits of this ‘Tughlaqi decree’,” he said at a press conference.

The Congress leader said the government should answer how many such alleged defaulters has the Income Tax Department probed and what is the undisclosed income unearthed.

The Income Tax Department had announced that they would initiate assessment proceedings to check black money instances after demonetisation, but till date there has been no disclosure from the department.

“Demonetisation was an organised loot and legalised plunder,” he said.

“How much black money has the government recovered from such defaulters so far,” he asked.

Vallabh alleged that serious charges of tax evasion have come out in the wake of demonetization against a prominent jeweller of Surat, who made sales of Rs 96.3 crore post 8.30 pm on November 8, 2016, when noteban was imposed.

Subsequently, between November 10 and 12 the jeweller deposited close to Rs 110 crore cash in banks and the total tax paid as per allegations is only Rs 80 lakh.

He said what is surprising is that rather than acting on the complaint, the IT Department has been after the complainant itself, who is a former income tax officer.

“Why did the government decide to misuse the machinery to raid the whistleblower instead of instituting an inquiry against the alleged scam,” he asked.

Vallabh also accused the Modi government of being “autocratic in the garb of a democratic one”.

He said the Indian economy is still reeling with the aftershocks of this ill-advised move.

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We are anti-BJP, not anti-national: Farooq Abdullah after Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration meeting

The Lok Sabha member from Srinagar was elected chairman of the PAGD after the first meeting of the amalgam at the residence of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti.

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Farooq Abdullah

SRINAGAR: National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which is fighting for restoration of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, is an anti-BJP platform but not an anti-national amalgam.

“I want to tell you that this false propaganda by the BJP that the PAGD is anti-national. I want to tell them that this is not true. There is no doubt that it is anti-BJP but it is not anti-national,” he told reporters here.

The Lok Sabha member from Srinagar was elected chairman of the PAGD after the first meeting of the amalgam at the residence of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti.

Abdullah said the BJP has tried to break the federal structure through acts like abrogation of Article 370 and dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.

“They have tried to destroy the constitution of the country, they have tried to divide the nation, to break the federal structure which we saw what they did on August 5 last year,” the NC president said.

“I want to tell them that this (PAGD) is not an anti-national jamaat. Our aim is that people of Jammu Kashmir, and Ladakh should get their rights back. That’s where our battle is, our battle is not for more than that,” he said.

Abdullah said the BJP was doing propaganda against the constituents of the PAGD in Jammu and elsewhere in the country.

“They are trying to divide us (people of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh) in the name of religion. This attempt will not succeed. This is not a religious battle, this is a fight for our identity and for that identity, we are standing together,” he said.

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