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Several Indian-Americans added to Biden’s unity taskforces

Sonal Shah, policy director for former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign, will serve on the Economy group.

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Vice President Joe Biden

Washington, May 22 : Several prominent Indian-American leaders have been added to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ joint task forces which will promote party unity by hammering out consensus on top policy issues.

On May 13, it was announced that Biden and Sanders put together six of the “unity task forces” to handle policy in the areas of economy, education, immigration, health care, climate change, and criminal justice reform, India-West reported on Friday.

Two Indian-Americans had already been named as co-chairs of the Health panel: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and US Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington.

On Thursday, South Asians for Biden said that additional Indian-Americans have also been named members of the Unity Taskforce.

Chiraag Bains, director of Legal Strategies for the think tank Demos and former Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, now president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, will serve on the Criminal Justice Reform group.

Varshini Prakash, executive director of the Sunrise Movement, a leading organization focused on climate change among young people, will be a part of the Climate Change group.

Sonal Shah, policy director for former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign, will serve on the Economy group.

“We are thrilled to see that a number of South Asian leaders have been selected to serve on the Unity Taskforce, which will have an impact on the Democratic Party platform for years to come,” India-West quoted Neha Dewan, National Director of South Asians for Biden, as saying.

“South Asians represent the second-most rapidly growing demographic group in America. In this critical election year, the South Asian community has a stake in key policy questions that affect our communities, and are deeply impacted by issues spanning immigration, civil rights, and healthcare.

“Such a robust representation of South Asians on the Unity Taskforce reflects the growing voting strength of the community,” said Ritu Pancholy, a member of the communications team for South Asians for Biden.

South Asians for Biden is a national, grassroots organization that is dedicated to engaging, educating, and mobilizing the South Asian community to help elect the former Vice President to the White House this year.

India

After Priyanka Eviction, Govt Clarifies that Advani-Joshi allotted bungalows on security grounds

Advani and Joshi have got government accommodation on the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs on the basis of threat perception. Both of them also have Z-plus security.

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LK Advani Manohar Joshi

New Delhi, July 3 : The ruling party and the opposition have been at loggerheads ever since the central government ordered Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to vacate the government bungalow allotted to her in New Delhi. The Congress is accusing the government of adopting double standards with regard to the Gandhi family. In such a situation, the government has issued a clarification.

The government said that on the basis of the Public Premises Amendment Bill 2019, Priyanka has been ordered to vacate the government bungalow. This amended law came into force in September 2019.

It has also been said by the government that accommodation is provided for a specified period to those who are in public service. According to this rule, government accommodation cannot be allotted on the basis of security other than to those who are SPG protected. Priyanka had been getting SPG protection since 1997, so she was allotted government accommodation. But now she is not getting SPG protection.

On giving government accommodation to senior BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, the Centre has said that the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation has decided to give Advani and Joshi government accommodation as an exception based on security threat perception. Based on this rule, Advani can live in a government bungalow for his lifetime, while Joshi is entitled to a government bungalow till June 25, 2022.

Advani and Joshi have got government accommodation on the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs on the basis of threat perception. Both of them also have Z-plus security.

The Urban Housing Ministry has asked Priyanka to vacate the Lodhi Road government bungalow within a month or by August 1. Besides, she has also been asked to pay the outstanding rent of Rs 3.46 lakh for the bungalow. The Ministry has said in the notice that due to withdrawal of SPG security, she cannot live in a government bungalow now as per the rule.

In an official release, the Ministry has said that if she does not vacate the bungalow in a month, she will have to pay a fine.

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Politics

Pinarayi Vijayan has badly let down Kerala diaspora: Congress

For close to four decades, the Kerala diaspora has been the mainstay of the state economy and the diaspora deposits in Kerala banks is around 1,69,944 crores.

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KC Joseph Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, July 3 : Senior Congress Legislator and former State Minister for Diaspora K. C. Joseph on Friday said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has badly let down the Kerala diaspora on all fronts.

Joseph, who headed the diaspora ministry for five years from 2011-16 told IANS that all what Vijayan has done is nothing but rhetoric and when the time came to really act, Vijayan has badly faltered, especially the way the diaspora was being handled when the pandemic struck.

“A few days back Vijayan had announced a ”Dream Kerala” project for the returning diaspora. If one looks back, a few years ago Vijayan held the much publicised Loka Kerala Sabha ( LKS), first in 2018 and then its second edition earlier this year and the only thing that happened was a grandiose event, and nothing has happened after that,” said Joseph.

“During the Assembly session held in May 2019, in reply to the question about the follow up of the first edition of the LKS, I had received a few replies. I was surprised in the latest ”Dream Kerala” project announced just a few days back, the same thing has been repeated,” said 74-year-old Joseph, who has been representing the Irikkur Assembly constituency in the Kannur district since 1982.

Joseph pointed out that the Norka-Roots department, set up for the diaspora has been relegated to just a web portal and the only job they did during the pandemic time was to open a portal, where all our diaspora, who wished to return from abroad, had to register.

“Just look into the budget allocation for them. Though it”s about a few crores, still there was funds at their disposal which they could have used to provide subsidy to our people who had to return after they lost their jobs, to buy their tickets and even provide a basic subsistence allowance. But nothing has been done and at one point, Vijayan even announced the diaspora might have to bear the expenses for their mandatory isolation, after they return,” added Joseph.

From May 7 till Thursday, over 900 flights and three ships have brought over 1.50 lakh people from abroad. Chief Minister Vijayan himself has pointed out that 52 per cent of the diaspora returnees have lost their jobs.

For close to four decades, the Kerala diaspora has been the mainstay of the state economy and the diaspora deposits in Kerala banks is around 1,69,944 crores.

”Dream Kerala” envisages projects to help rehabilitate the returning diaspora. For these, ideas are being sought and an expert committee will review the various ideas and those which are selected will be put for implementation.

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French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has resigned

Nonetheless, speculation over his future had swirled since mid-June, when Mr Macron declared he wanted to “reinvent” his presidency.

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Edouard Philippe

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has resigned, according to the Elysee Palace.

His departure is expected to pave the way for a government reshuffle.

Mr Philippe will continue to handle government affairs until a new cabinet is named.

Speculation had been growing that a government reshuffle was imminent – with French President Emmanuel Macron seeking to boost his green credentials and win back disillusioned voters.

Mr Philippe had actually seen his popularity increase significantly in recent weeks – despite French authorities facing criticism over their handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Nonetheless, speculation over his future had swirled since mid-June, when Mr Macron declared he wanted to “reinvent” his presidency.

In French government reshuffles, the prime minister tenders his or her resignation ahead of cabinet appointments but can still be renamed to the position.

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