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Swami Agnivesh: Crusader, Minister and ‘Bigg Boss’ contestant

A popular leader of the Arya Samaj, he was elected President of the World Council of Arya Samaj (Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha) in 2004.

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Swamy Agnivesh

New Delhi, Sep 11 : A celebrated campaigner against bonded labour, a bridge between the government and Maoist leadership, part of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption crusade, Arya Samaj leader and a reality TV participant — Swami Agnivesh wore many hats in his life.

His eventful eight-decade-long life journey came to an end on Friday at a Delhi hospital after battling multi-organ failure. He died at 6.30 PM, said a statement by the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences.

Of all his avatars, Agnivesh was best-known for his concerted battle against bonded labour. His organisation Bandhua Mukti Morcha (BMM) was formed in 1981 to rid India of what his website calls “scourge of bonded and child labour”. The website also claims that till date the BMM has been instrumental in the release and rehabilitation of 1,78,000 bonded laborers, including 26,000 bonded child labourers.

His long-time associate and Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi — both of whom have worked in the same field — said in a statement: “My deep condolences on the passing away of veteran Arya Samaj leader, crusader against bonded labour and my old friend Swami Agnivesh ji. May the departed soul rest in peace.”

Though it is not very well-known, he was also a firebrand politician. In 1977, he was elected to the Haryana Assembly and even was made education minister after a while. However, the rebel he was, he resigned from the post soon enough.

Always found to be wearing a saffron robe, he used to call saffron the colour of sacrifice, commitment and purity. “It matters little if you call me “Swami Agnivesh or simply “Agnivesh”. All that matters is the fire inside me, the presence of the divine in the inner temple of my being, should continue to blaze till the end,” he had once said.

A popular leader of the Arya Samaj, he was elected President of the World Council of Arya Samaj (Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha) in 2004.

Agnivesh was known to help resolve conflicts, whether it was in militancy-ridden erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir or the Maoism-dominated hinterland. It is this trait that made the then Congress government ask him to open a dialogue with the Maoists back in 2010.

Agnivesh had a penchant for constantly reinventing himself. He was seen espousing the anti-corruption cause as the nation rallied behind Anna Hazare, amid a slew of corruption allegations against the then UPA government. However, his stay there too, was short-lived due to a leaked video in which he was seen with Congress leaders, against whom the movement was started, to begin with.

One of the visually disturbing images of him that stayed in public memory was him being attacked by nationalist groups, alleged to be BJYM members, during a visit to Jharkhand.

However, an unexpected move that surprised and amused his admirers at the same time was Agnivesh participating in the reality show ‘Bigg Boss’.

The social activist was admitted at Delhi’s Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences on Tuesday. He was critically ill and suffered from liver cirrhosis and was on ventilator support since Tuesday owing to multi-organ failure. His condition deteriorated on Friday and he suffered a cardiac arrest at 6 pm.

As he breathed his last this evening, the nation paid tributes to a man who lived many lives in one, often evoking strong sentiments. From the gutsy fight against bonded labour to the glamorous house of ‘Bigg Boss’ — Swami Agnivesh had been there and done it all.

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Hotel industry’s recovery to pre-Covid levels profits 3 yrs away: ICRA

“This will keep revenues moderated, resulting in operating losses and stretched debt metrics during FY2021 and FY2022.”

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Park Hotel Delhi

New Delhi, Oct 24 : The Indian hotel industry’s recovery to pre-Covid levels profits is at least three years away, ratings agency ICRA has said.

The ratings agency said that road ahead for the industry is rough as revenues and margins are expected to post record decline in FY21 with losses mounting over the next two years.

The hotel industry has witnessed one of the worst revenue declines, in Q1FY21, with revenues for the industry sample declining by 85 per cent.

“Given the high operating and financial leverage in the industry, the revenue decline led to huge operating and net losses in Q1 FY2021 despite the extensive cost-cutting measures adopted by most entities in the industry,” ICRA said in a statement.

“Despite sharp weakening in interest coverage, recourse to the RBI provided moratorium on debt servicing as part of its Covid relief package announced in March 2020 supported the industry.”

As per the statement, about 66 per cent of ICRA’s hospitality portfolio applied for moratorium under this scheme and several of these will apply for restructuring under the K.V. Kamath committee too.

“Although hotels have been gradually allowed to reopen, occupancies have remained subdued in H1FY2021,” the statement said.

“This will keep revenues moderated, resulting in operating losses and stretched debt metrics during FY2021 and FY2022.”

The industry has reported a 2.7 per cent de-growth in topline with flat operating margins at 22 per cent in FY2020.

“With an 85 per cent YoY decline witnessed in revenues in Q1 FY2021 and subdued occupancies witnessed in Q2 FY2021 as well, industry wide revenues are expected to witness sharp de-growth of 60-65 per cent for FY2021,” ICRA said.

“Despite several measures taken by the companies to variabilise the fixed costs, the industry is likely to report massive operating and net losses in FY2021.”

–IANS

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31% adolescents battled extreme anxiety in past few months due to COVID-19, says survey

About 31% surveyed adolescents battled extreme anxiety in the past few months worrying about the impact of coronavirus pandemic on their family’s financial status, according to a survey

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work-load office tension stress

About 31 percent surveyed adolescents battled extreme anxiety in the past few months worrying about the impact of coronavirus pandemic on their family’s financial status, according to a survey of over 7,300 adolescents from four states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Odisha.

The survey on ‘What do the Adolescents have to say? COVID-19 and its Impact’ by NGO Centre for Catalysing Change was conducted in two rounds in the months of April, July and August.

Out of the 7,324 adolescents surveyed, 31 percent admitted to battling extreme anxiety worrying about the pandemic’s impact on their family’s financial status.

The survey also found that adolescent girls faced significant gender discrimination in these months due to the pandemic.

“Only 12 percent of surveyed adolescent girls had access to their own mobile phones to be able to attend online classes, while 35 percent boys had access to their own mobile phones,” the survey found.

“Further, 51 percent of the adolescent girls surveyed lacked access to essential textbooks in comparison to boys, highlighting how the pandemic had jeopardized girls’ access to education,” it said.

About 39 percent of the girls were found to be contributing to housework as opposed to the number of boys at 35 percent, it said.

Under the survey, the adolescent girls also stated how their mobility has been curbed, with only 39 percent girls saying they were allowed to go out alone in comparison to 62 percent boys of the same age who were allowed to go out alone.

“At the same time, only 36 percent adolescents knew the correct helpline numbers, while awareness about the use of the helplines was even lower. Only 18 percent was aware that the helplines could be used in reporting domestic violence and only 22-23 percent knew that it could be used in reporting child labour and child trafficking cases,” it added.

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Sahir Ludhianvi death anniversary: Top Bollywood songs penned by the legendary poet

On Sahir Ludhianvi’s death anniversary, here’s looking at top Bollywood songs written by the legendary poet!

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Sahir Ludhianvi

Born in Ludhiana, Punjab, in 1921, Sahir began writing since childhood. Born as Abdul Hayee, he found the word ‘Sahir’ while reading Iqbal’s poetry and decided to use it as his pen name.

Sahir’s poetry was remarkably concerned with socio-economic and political problems of the country. He often voiced problems of the downtrodden with his words.

Sahir’s debut as film lyricist was with Azadi Ki Rah Par and Baazi. In recognition of his contributions, he was honoured with Padma Bhushan. Sahir died in Mumbai on October 25, 1980.

On Sahir Ludhianvi’s death anniversary, here’s looking at top Bollywood songs written by the legendary poet.

Dekha hai zindagi ko kuch itna kareeb se

Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar hu

Kabhi Kabhi Mere DIl Mein

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