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Suspending MPLAD scheme is undemocratic: Stalin

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MK Stalin

Chennai, April 7 (IANS) The DMK President M.K. Stalin on Tuesday said the Central government’s decision to suspend the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) Scheme for two years instead of allocating additional funds for Covid-19 relief work is not a democratic decision.

In a statement issued here Stalin said MPLAD scheme is not an allowance for MPs but allocation of funds for projects that are needed by the people in a constituency.

Instead of allocating additional funds towards relief works for Covid-19 affected constituencies, withdrawing the existing funds puts the MPs in a spot and is not democratic act.

Stalin also questioned the reason for Central government allocating just Rs 510 crore for Tamil Nadu towards Covid-19 relief work.

He said while Uttar Pradesh with 234 Covid-19 patients got Rs 966 crore, Tamil Nadu with 621 patients got only Rs 510 crore.

Stalin said the Tamil Nadu government had requested a total sum of Rs 12,200 crore from the Central government for Covid-19 relief. He said this clearly shows the Corona politics is being played by the Central government.


India

Kerala gold smuggling: Brother not in talking terms with accused Swapna Suresh

Speaking to a Malayalam TV channel from the US on Wednesday, her brother Bright Suresh said that was not in talking terms with Swapna.

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Kerala gold smuggling

Thiruvananthapuram, July 8 : Swapna Suresh, the high-profile lady who moved in the corridors of power, rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty in Kerala, was reportedly not in talking terms with her elder brother.

Swapna Suresh, a consultant with the Kerala IT department, is reportedly on the run after her name came up in the investigation into the gold smuggling scandal, which links her with top smugglers operating from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Speaking to a Malayalam TV channel from the US on Wednesday, her brother Bright Suresh said that was not in talking terms with Swapna.

“We are three siblings, and I am the eldest one. We were all in the UAE and when I turned 17, I left for the the US from where I graduated. Now I am settled in the US and work with a telecom company. Swapna is the second sibbling while our youngest brother is settled in India,” said Suresh.

Their parents are settled in the suburbs of the state capital.

“When I went home a few years back, she had threatened me and warned me that if I didn’t return to the US, my hands and legs will be chopped. She was upset because she felt that I would get a share of the property, which she didn’t want. Me and my brother occasionally speak, and that’s it. I interact with my mother. My parents will decide on the property. I earn my own living,” said Suresh.

On Sunday, the Air Customs attached to the Thiruvananthapuram airport had seized 30 kg gold that arrived on a cargo flight and was kept in a warehouse for release. The baggage had arrived from Dubai and is understood to have been marked to the UAE Consulate which has its office in the heart of the state capital.

The Consulate’s PRO, Sarith, has been arrested, while the prime suspect in the smuggling racket, Swapna, a woman who wears many hats, is on the run. She also happens to be close to the ruling Left Democratic Front government in the state.

She had worked in the Consulate office here for a while and was in good terms with Sarith.

It was only after the arrest of Sarith that the revelations turned murky as Swapna, who is presently a consultant with the Kerala IT department, was very close to senior IAS officer and Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, M. Sivasankar, who was also the IT Secretary.

With both the Congress and the BJP demanding that Vijayan should come clean, Sivasankar was on Tuesday removed from his office as well as from the post of IT Secretary.

Sivasankar later applied for a year”s leave, which has been sanctioned.

With the case getting huge media attention, the Union government has taken it up at the highest level, even as Vijayan on Tuesday night said that he was ready to face any probe.

“We have no say in the matter. We are ready to face any probe and the Centre can decide which agency should probe the matter,” said Vijayan.

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Business

In latest attack on govt, Rahul Gandhi highlights NPAs, says was ridiculed

Rahul Gandhi has been leading his party’s sharp criticism of the central government over a host of issues, including the June 15 standoff between the Indian and Chinese soldiers.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that large companies are under severe stress in India and banks are in distress. He targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for ridiculing him for warning about all this months ago.

“Small & medium enterprises stand destroyed. Large companies are under severe stress. Banks are in distress. I stated months ago that an economic tsunami was coming and was ridiculed by BJP and the Media for warning the country about the truth,” Gandhi said on Twitter.

He also attached a news report which claimed that the non-performing assets (NPAs) in the country will increase.

The former Congress president had attacked the BJP on Tuesday too by accusing the government led by it of economic mismanagement. “India’s economic mismanagement is a tragedy that is going to destroy millions of families. It will no longer be accepted silently,” he had tweeted yesterday.

He tagged a report with his tweet that claimed that India’s economic growth is likely to contract 4.5 per cent in 2020-21 due to Covid-19.

Gandhi has been leading his party’s sharp criticism of the central government over a host of issues, including the June 15 standoff between the Indian and Chinese soldiers. He has criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement at all-party meeting and questioned the government’s stand on China.

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India

Govt panel to probe violations by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

It is alleged that the Embassy of The People’s Republic of China in India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China are donors to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

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Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

New Delhi, July 8 : The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has set up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the various violations of legal provisions by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.

The committee will coordinate investigations into violation of provisions like the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Income Tax Act and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) by these foundations, a Home Ministry official said.

The official said that a Special Director of Enforcement Directorate will head the committee.

The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was established on June 21, 1991. The foundation works on a range of issues, including literacy, health, disability, empowerment of the underprivileged, livelihood and natural resource management. Its current focus areas are education, disability and natural resource management.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi is the Chairperson of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram are members of the board.

The Centre”s move followed recent allegations launched by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the Congress and the Gandhi family claiming that China had funded the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

Last month, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, citing some documentary proof, sought an explanation from the Congress to explain why the Chinese Embassy donated about Rs 90 lakh to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

It is alleged that the Embassy of The People’s Republic of China in India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China are donors to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

A petition has also been filed before the Supreme Court to seek a probe into the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Congress and the Communist Party of China signed in 2008.

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