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Rajya Sabha passes Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016

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New Delhi, March 20: The Rajya Sabha on Monday approved the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016.

The bill that seeks to increase maternity leave to 26 weeks from the present 12 weeks was earlier passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 11, last year.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien observed that the measure was already passed by both the houses and there was only a “technical amendment” with which it was to be taken up once again.

The Bill was then passed with voice vote.

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, also provides for leave up to 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child below the age of three months, and for commissioning mothers.

The period of maternity leave will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother.

In surrogacy, the surrogate mother carries a child for another person after an agreement made before conception of the child. The person wishing to adopt and foster the child is called the commissioning person or couple.

The bill paves the way for the ratification of International Labour Organisation convention No.183 that provides for 14 weeks of maternity leave benefit to women.

It also facilitates “work from home” for nursing mothers once the leave period ends and has made creche facility mandatory in respect of establishments with 50 or more employees

IANS

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Earthquake of magnitude 4.1 hit Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur

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Earthquake

New Delhi, May 21: An earthquake of magnitude 4.1 hit Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district at 4.21 p.m on Monday, reported news agency ANI.

No casualties have been reported so far.

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India

Sochi Informal summit: India, Russia have been friends for a long time, says Modi

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Sochi, May 21: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of an informal summit between the two countries. 

“Russia played a major role in helping India get a permanent membership in SCO. We are working together on International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and BRICS”, said Modi.

The Indian Prime thanked Russian President for inviting him for an informal meeting at Sochi. He stated “India and Russia have been friends for a long time”.

Modi arrived in Russia’s Sochi for an informal summit.

The summit is being held on the lines of the Wuhan informal summit between PM Modi and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. The meeting between the two leaders is the first since the re-election of Putin as the President of Russia.

Duo are scheduled to meet in the coastal city at around 01.00 pm and hold restricted one-on-one talks.

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Jaya Jaitly upset with Priyanka’s ‘British aristocrat’ dress at Royal Wedding

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Priyanka Chopra Jaya Jaitly

New Delhi, May 21: Former Samata Party president and textile revivalist Jaya Jaitly was disappointed to see that Indian actor Priyanka Chopra opted to dress up like a “British aristocrat” at the royal wedding of Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex ”Prince Harry and Meghan Markle”

She says Priyanka could have opted for a “beautiful” sari as independent India has so much to show to the world.

“How sad an Indian actor attending the royal wedding in UK should dress like a British aristocrat at Ascot rather than represent a free and independent India in a beautiful sari,” Jaitly tweeted on May 19, the day when actress Meghan Markle wed British Royal Prince Harry.

However, her complaint goes beyond Priyanka’s dress.

Jaitly told news agency IANS: “All these actors, they dress up in all these fancy gowns by fancy designers who pay them for wearing their outfits and so they get fat money. Now, I keep feeling as I am loyal to our weavers and our textiles in India and we are working all our lives to revive it… We never attach a human being (the weaver’s name) with the brand name unless it has a designer’s name.

“We will say Kanjeevaram or Sambalpuri or something else and that’s the unfair practice all over the world and particularly in India.”

As Founder and President of Dastkari Haat Samiti, an art and craft market to enable rural artisans of traditional Indian crafts to gain confidence in the marketplace through many innovative strategies, Jaitly has been at the forefront of promoting Indian handicrafts and textiles.

She questions why Indian actresses wear western gowns to red carpet events abroad.

“Even in Hollywood (red carpets), where if I see Deepika Padukone wearing long gowns… they never really can compete. It’s like Indian fashion designers trying to do western dresses… Why don’t they wear most beautiful gorgeous sari, and everyone will go ‘wow’.”

An Indian activist, Suhani Jalota, who runs Myna Mahila Foundation, attended the royal wedding in an elegant sari designed by Indian brand Raw Mango run by designer Sanjay Garg.

Suhani Jalota

Counter-questioned about the existence of a dress code to attend the royal wedding, Jaitly said: “In the royal wedding, it was all about inclusiveness and welcoming others’ society, people, race and colour. The royal family and all these people went all out to emphasise the American-African identity of the bride and everyone was raving about the bride’s mother too because they were different.

“I felt sad when I think that why do we copy them and never quite get it right. We have so much to show and show off.”

On the dichotomy of a dress code, Jaitly pointed out: “When somebody in a village in India says ‘Sar dhako (cover your head)’, we don’t want that… When somebody says, ‘Don’t wear jeans in college’, we say ‘Who are you to tell us a dress code?’. But if Queen in England descends an invitation and say you got to wear a hat, which is not part of your culture, you will start saying there was a dress code.

“I don’t understand these various double standards.”

She said people may not agree with her, but in her words, “Just like Priyanka has the right to wear whatever she wants, I have the right to express my opinion.”

IANS

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